ONA Local has come a long way since our first groups launched in 2008. We’ve grown from one group to 63, and we’re now in cities and on college campuses all around the world. Just last year, we added 12 new groups and more than 2,700 people across our Meetup.com groups — you can read more about last year’s additions here.
So what’s coming in 2017?
Bringing together our local leaders
For one thing, we’re hosting our first-ever ONA Local Leadership Summit in New Orleans in April. It’ll be a gathering of our local leaders, people who are super passionate about building, championing and supporting the digital journalism community in their hometown or on their campus. We’ll cover topics that are key to thriving digital news environments, like developing strong leadership, fostering innovation, building partnerships and collaborations, and creating learning opportunities like workshops and meetups.
Important topics, tackled community-wide
Starting in February, we’re launching a series of monthly discussion themes that are chosen by ONA Local groups. Every group will be invited to organize their own conversations based on the month’s designated topic. February’s theme, selected by ONA South Florida, was Trust. March’s theme is Diversity, selected by ONA SF. Check with your Local group for details on an event near you.
More ways to connect
We’ve partnered with Local groups in South Florida and Texas to host free, day-long workshops. They’re designed to spotlight digital innovations happening in the region and to draw people in from a wider geographic area, giving people a chance to network beyond their immediate neighbors. If you’re in the northwestern United States, stay tuned for another workshop this summer, this time in partnership with our ONA Reno group and several others in the area.
In addition to meeting awesome digital types near you to nerd out IRL, we’ve heard you also want a place for conversations with people outside your geographic area on specific technologies, tools and topics. We’re planning to use the new ONA Local Slack group to host more targeted chats this year. ONA Italia’s Alessandro Cappai is leading the first discussion, and it will be on automation, so round up the IFTTT and Zapier recipes that make your life easier and join us on Slack March 1 at 12 noon EST (9 a.m. PST; 5 p.m. GMT; 6 p.m. CET).
More groups (or start your own)!
We’re launching even more new groups in 2017, starting with St. Louis, West Virginia, Salt Lake City, and Cincinnati. We’re especially looking to grow our footprint in smaller and non-coastal cities and campuses, to connect local journalists to each other and to our international network of news nerds. If you want to bring ONA Local to your hometown, let us know.