Online News Association to expand local journalism training with $828,000 from Knight Foundation

By on September 24, 2015

LOS ANGELES — The Online News Association today announced that it will expand its program connecting and training journalists in communities across the United States with a $828,000 grant from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Knight support will significantly help build on the success of ONA Local groups, which bring together journalists, technologists and educators, providing them with digital training and peer-to-peer learning. ONA will bring more resources to its 50 current local groups and create groups in 20 new communities, and develop partnerships with leading journalism and tech organizations.

“To accelerate the digital transformation of local news, we need to support people at both traditional news organizations, online news sites and digital upstarts who are committed to innovation and embracing new ways to inform and engage people,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism. “By expanding ONA’s work we hope to expand digital journalism training opportunities, support emerging leaders and strengthen the network of people working to advance the practice of journalism.

“ONA Local groups are a strong example of how networked journalists can encourage and teach each other,” said Online News Association Executive Director Jane McDonnell. “We’re delighted to be able to offer them more targeted help, and respond to the great need we see for these connections across the country.”

ONA will hire a Community Engagement Manager who will help launch new groups and offer strong support for ONA Local leaders, including evaluating local news needs in individual communities, offering targeted training and expanded networking and bringing them to ONA’s annual conference.

The announcement was made on the opening day of the 2015 Online News Association Conference (ONA15),which continues through Sept. 26. For more information on current ONA Local cities and the grant, see the ONA Local FAQ..

Support for the Online News Association is part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to advance excellence in journalism and to help news organizations inform people in communities of all sizes through experimentation, innovation and leadership. Knight has made many investments in this area, including the $5 million Knight Local Media Initiative, which has supported more than 50 online news sites around the U.S.

About ONA
The Online News Association is the world’s largest association of online journalists. ONA’s mission is to inspire innovation and excellence among journalists to better serve the public. The membership includes news writers, producers, designers, editors, bloggers, technologists, photographers, academics, students and others who produce and distribute news for digital delivery systems. ONA also hosts the annual Online News Association annual conference and administers the Online Journalism Awards.

About Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit

Jen Mizgata, Senior Communications Manager, Online News Association,
Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677,

Jeremiah Patterson

Jeremiah Patterson

Jeremiah was ONA's Digital Manager from 2012 to the fall of 2016 and was responsible for ONA's collection of websites, including, conference websites, the membership center, awards platforms and more. Before joining ONA, he served as a web producer and content developer at The Wildlife Society, maintaining the organization’s website, email marketing and other online services. An Ohio native and media enthusiast, Jeremiah grew up with a deep interest in video production and graphic design. He now focuses in user experience and human-centered design.