Resources from ONACamp at AAN Digital

By on January 31, 2013

ONA brought ONACamp, a full day of digital training, to the Association of Alternative Newsmedia’s 2013 Digital Conference on January 26. Presenters from Tumblr, Google, NPR, the Center for Investigative Reporting, the San Jose Mercury News, and the Knight News Fellowship worked with more than 130 editors and journalists to improve their digital approach to news.

Keeping in mind the range of work produced by Alternative Newsweeklies, ONACamp focused on new tools and solutions to make their work more awesome. We’ve collected resources so you too can learn how to build better maps with Fusion Tables, reach new audiences with Tumblr, get out of your traditional mindset and think more like a startup, and build better networking strategies.

Below is a list of session resources and quick takeaways from our weekend in San Francisco.


Instructor: Mark Coatney, Director/Media Evangelist, Tumblr @mcoatney

With stats about Tumblr’s 165 million monthly unique visits in tout, Mark Coatney outlined best practices for engaging readers (and getting re-blogs) on the platform, all on the heels of news saying “Tumblr” is a more popular Google search term than “blog.”

Resource: Slides


Instructor: Vanessa Schneider, Geo Media Program Manager, Google @vanessagene

Google’s Vanessa Schneider showcased examples of how news organizations are using Google Fusion Tables, explored more possibilities and walked those in attendance through making their own map.



Instructor: Doug Mitchell, NPR, Career Coach, @nextgenradio

A recruiter and diversity consultant, Doug Mitchell led discussion on how to incorporate diversity into newsroom, with strategies for broadening staff, stories and overall advertising reach and income.

Resource: Prezi


Instructor: Meghann Farnsworth, Manager, Distribution and Online Engagement, California Watch @meghannCIR

Meghann Farnsworth outlined how the right metrics can influence editorial and business strategy by getting fast, smart reads on what’s working and what’s not, drawing on successes CIR has had in monitoring and responding to analytics on individual projects.

Resource: Slides


Instructor: Latoya Peterson, Stanford-Knight Fellow @LatoyaPeterson

Breaking out the post-it notes and looking at the “Business Model Canvas,” Latoya Peterson made the case that even if you aren’t a startup, innovation, creativity and reevaluating “what is” will keep your organization moving forward.

Resource: Slides


Instructor: Deborah Petersen, Senior Editor – Mobile & Social Media, San Jose Mercury News @deborapetersen

Deborah Petersen discussed how a strong network strategy calls for finding the readers where they are (an old print circulation strategy) and learning how to leverage all those now many locations together.


Want to learn more about past ONACamps? Take a look.

Got an idea for the location of a future ONACamp or want to get more involved? Email Digital Director Jeanne Brooks at