Passion Key to Online Voice

The attendance at the early morning panel on Friday reflected it might be hard to find passion for anything at 8:30 a.m.

But passion being the key ingredient to this session, journalists trudged through their morning haze (and perhaps a hangover, courtesy of Yahoo!).

Those who did make it were rewarded with feedback from panelists offering suggestions on blending passion with solid reporting to produce appealing blogs.

Amber MacArthur, new media specialist at CityNews, communicates with podcasts, videos, blogs and news stories. Each medium, she said, may require a different approach, but ultimately a reporter's message needs consistency.

"Truly find what you're passionate about and find your voice through that," MacArthur said.

Dan Froomkin,'s White House Watch columnist and the panel's moderator, said this is the time to grab audience's attention through engaging stories.

Rick Hancock (Photo by Aaron Roberts)

"There are risks involved in opinion, but basically without it you are trying to create a risk-free newsroom and no one cares about that any more," he said.

The other panelists, Dan Lyons of Forbes Magazine and Rick Hancock, assistant dean at Quinnipiac University, agreed that journalists cannot neglect passion in their work.

Hancock said he is frustrated when he comes to conferences and hears that journalists still don't "get it." Now is the time when media has to be prepared to engage with audiences, he said, and one way to do this is through appealing stories.

Jay Rosen of New York University addressed the panel and audience with one tip: Start a blog and you’ll become more valuable to your organization because of the user interaction. Rosen added it could save your job -- and others in the room nodded their heads in agreement.

-Jen Monroe

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8th Annual Conference and Awards Banquet, Oct. 17-19, Sheraton Centre, Toronto

Questions about membership, registration or sponsorship opportunities? E-mail Executive Director Lori Schwab.

Questions about conference lineup or volunteering? E-mail Conference Chair Ju-Don Roberts.

Oct. 19, 2007 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.: Breakfast Discussion Groups (Sponsored by AFP) 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: The Cutting Edge of Online Data 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Finding Your Voice Online 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Business Workshop: Leading the 21st Century Newsroom 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.: General Session: Membership Meeting 10:45 a.m. - Education Members Meeting, Expanding ONA's educational offerings, Dominion Ballroom 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m: Keynote: Michael Oreskes, International Herald Tribune 12:15 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Lunch on Your Own (Box lunch sponosred by 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: Broadcaster Strategies for the Web 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Integrating Multimedia in Storytelling 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Business Workshop: Legal Panel 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: Revamping Your Curriculum for Online Journalism 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Integrating User-Generated Content 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Business Workshop: Advertising 2.0 4:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.: Coffee Break (Sponsored by Pluck) 4:45 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Journalism Next: Impact of Aggregators, Blogging and Social Networking on the Industry 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Reception sponsored by 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.: Awards banquet

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    The 2007 Online News Association Conference is the premier conference for those who work in, or have an interest in, online media and news.

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