ONA11: Takeaways from Boston

By on October 3, 2011

Whether or not you were among the 1,200 people who made it to Boston, there’s a lot to take away from the 2011 Online News Association Conference, Career Summit & Job Fair and the Pre-Conference Workshops held Sept. 22-24.

The digital journalists walking the halls of the Marriott Copley Place brought as much to the conference as the speakers and presenters. And we want to make sure to share it with all ONA members.

While we’re wrapping up, if you were in Boston and want to help make next year’s conference even better, please take our evaluation survey so we can incorporate your feedback.

Sessions and presentations

  • The 20 students (and mentors) of the ONA11 Student Newsroom, chaired by Sara Kelly and Michelle Johnson, roamed the conference hallways and outside venues with cameras, cells, notebooks and iPads to bring you the people, ideas and events who made an impression throughout the three days. Thanks to web geni Daniel Bachhuber and Heather Billings, we’ve captured all their work here on the ONA11 site.
  • This year, each session has its own page with video (when available) and other curated content such as commentary from the Twitter backchannel and direct quotes from the presenters, led by ONA members Monica Guzman and Kathy Gill. The pages also include embedded presentations and other resources from the presenters. Find all the session pages here. We’ve listed the keynotes below to get you started:

    • Friday Morning Keynote: Vivek Kundra
    • Friday Lunch Keynote: A Conversation on the Front Lines of the Arab Revolution
    • Friday Night Keynote: Ben Huh
    • Saturday Morning Keynote: Race, Gender and Technology: The Third Rail?
  • Speaking of videos, all keynotes, general sessions, and the Online Journalism Awards ceremony were live streamed, thanks to our partnership with Livestream.com and Chair Greg Linch and the Stream Team. You’ll notice that some are missing and others may have sound issues. Sessions of poor quality are going through post-production, and they’ll be posted throughout October. Follow @ONA on Twitter for the latest updates.

Tweets, maps, clips and clouds

Here’s just some of the creative and helpful coverage and takeaways. Let us know if you produced or have seen more:

  • Tons of Twitter: There were so many great links and info shared in the 20,000 tweets produced over the three days that it’s impossible to sort through them all and pick a few. But you can see an archive here. Our top tweeters were @SuziSteffen, @kimfox and @ckanal. Most of the tweets came from the U.S., followed by Canada, Argentina, Spain and France.
  • UNcon: The unconference sessions got the Tumblr treatment, with online campaigning and voting. See what (and who) were picked to present on Saturday, along with votes at onaunconference.tumblr.com.
  • NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook broadcast live from ONA11 on Friday morning. Listen to the second hour here on crowdsourcing featuring Derrick Ashong, host of Al Jazeera’s The Stream, Mandy Jenkins from the Huffington Post and Robert Hernandez, ONA Board member and professor at USC Annenberg.
  • Thursday highlight: A full day of legal firepower at Harvard. The sessions were recorded and will be posted soon, but you can find some quick takeaways here.
  • Hackers and journalists unite: Hacks/Hackers and Mozilla hosted a full-day hackathon in conjunction with ONA11, uniting ONA members with other coders. Check out the video they created about the hackathon, featuring the winning teams and their projects, and check out this recap featuring links to the winning projects.

So, how many …

  • Attendees (total, Thursday – Saturday): 1,219 (Download the attendee list: PDF, CSV
  • Sponsors and exhibitors: 40
  • Job Fair recruiters: 27
  • Sessions: 51
  • Presenters: 145
  • FourSquare check-ins: 470 by 211 people

And finally:

ONA12
Sept. 20-22, 2012
San Francisco Hyatt Regency

Judging from this year, we’ll be sold out again — please, so we don’t have to turn anyone away, make your plans now!

Jane McDonnell

As executive director, Jane oversees and manages the day-to-day operations of the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists, working closely with the Board of Directors. Her purview includes membership, partnerships, global community outreach, budgeting and revenue generation, fundraising and development, the Online Journalism Awards, and providing vision for ONA’s state-of-the-art annual conference.