Volunteer at ONA17!

Get free registration to our conference happening Oct. 5-7 in Washington, D.C.

By on February 23, 2017

We’re looking for volunteers for the Online News Association Conference and Awards (ONA17), Oct. 5-7, in Washington D.C. ONA17 will bring together over 2,200 journalists, editors, technologists and people passionate about journalism. Volunteering is a great way to have a meaningful experience at the conference and to attend for free.

Volunteers work before, during and a little bit after the conference. Volunteers typically work eight to 10 hours and help with everything from registration to live coverage of events. In return, you’ll get free and guaranteed registration to what has been a sold-out conference 10 years running. There’s plenty of camaraderie, lots of food and caffeine, and reasonable hours that allow you time to network and take advantage of what’s at the conference. If you’re selected, positions will be assigned during the summer.

We’re also giving special consideration to applicants from smaller organizations this year. Volunteering is a great way to lower the costs of attending the conference.

There are four distinct opportunities at ONA17 — general volunteers as well as specialized social, video or audio teams that cover the conference.

Volunteer Opportunities at ONA17:

Volunteers: Help out in a myriad of ways, from assisting with registration to stuffing those beautiful conference totes.

Qualifications: A good attitude, a love of digital journalism (and journalists) and a firm commitment.

Social Team: The ONA17 Social Team provides live coverage of conference sessions. It allows people to follow along with individual sessions from work or home, and serves as an archive of session highlights once the discussion ends. This is a fast-paced but rewarding position.

Qualifications: Experience covering live events and availability over the course of the full conference

Video Team: The video team produces packages and streams key sessions to preserve the biggest takeaways and allow all newsrooms to learn from the conference. As a video team member, you’ll have the opportunity to interview your favorite speakers and work with other great videographers from top news organizations around the country.

Qualifications: Experience shooting and editing video and availability over the course of the full conference

Audio Team: The audio team produces recordings of select sessions, allowing our community to go back and listen to things they missed or experience sessions they couldn’t attend.

As an audio team member, you’ll be in charge of recording these sessions. This will include some minor post-production work such as editing out dead air at the beginning and end of a session, as well as uploading a finished recording to Soundcloud or a similar website.

Qualifications: Experience with audio recording and availability over the course of the full conference

If you apply for more than one team, our team leaders will coordinate to find the best spot for you.

If you’re looking for other opportunities to get involved, stay tuned! In March, we’ll be accepting applications for students and mentors for the ONA17 Student Newsroom, and you can send speaker and session pitches through the Suggestion Box. Plus, we offer a number of fellowships to get to the conference, which will open over the summer.


Jennifer Mizgata

Jennifer Mizgata is Director of Programs at the Online News Association, where she leads the Women's Leadership Accelerator. At ONA, Jennifer focuses on identifying talented digital journalists and innovative journalism projects and providing them with support. Jennifer is a business and design strategist with over a decade of experience creating industry-changing training programs, investing in award-winning projects, and managing key relationships with journalism partners and tech stakeholders. She regularly coaches managers, senior leaders and entrepreneurs on challenges related to their careers and launching new ventures. Jennifer shares advice for navigating tough work challenges in Work Space, a monthly column for Fortune.