A letter to the ONA Local community

By on December 4, 2017

Dear ONA Local community,

Our ONA Local communities lie at the heart of what we do. We take great pride in the positive, constructive and collaborative relationships that you create every month.

Like many of you, we were disheartened to read about political activists using our events to deceptively engage with journalists. Our industry is built on trust, and ethically-bound newsrooms and professional journalism organizations reject reporting methods that rely on deception.

At both the national and local levels, we intentionally create an inclusive, supportive and welcoming culture. I want to encourage every ONA member and especially ONA Local Leaders to not let this incident or others like it to discourage us from that mission. We want to continue to keep our communities open – to journalists and allies of all stripes – to further our values as an organization.

We could close our events and more closely scrutinize every attendee. However, doing so undermines the very values we promote of transparency and inclusivity. We are committed to our culture and embracing what makes ONA and ONA Local strong.

It’s clear that we need to be mindful that some people may seek to use those values against us. We have already established a code of conduct for all ONA events that are designed to help us uphold these values. Our longstanding guidance reminds everyone to conduct themselves professionally, to engage in respectful debate, to treat one another with respect and to alert others when you believe our standards are being violated.

We love ONA Local, and we know that our community members do, too. Each week, all over the world digital journalists are getting together to share resources, learn from each other, listen to experts and more — and we want to maintain that spirit of camaraderie and openness. It’s also critical that the journalism community works together to solve problems and spread knowledge in an age where press freedoms are under attack. ONA is here to support the digital journalism community, and we intend to keep doing just that.

If you have any questions or concerns about hosting future ONA Local events, please contact Executive Director Irving Washington (irving@journalists.org) and Community Manager Meghan Murphy (meghan@journalists.org).


Joshua Hatch

Josh Hatch

Josh Hatch

Josh is the assistant managing editor of data and interactives at the Chronicle of Higher Education and also the president of ONA's Board of Directors. He is actively involved in exploring the potential of online journalism to cover the news and inform the public in new and innovative ways. In his career he’s produced numerous packages that take advantage of the online platform, from election-based games to data-driven interactives, to narrative storytelling. At The Chronicle of Higher Education, he leads a team of data reporters, designers and developers to create data-driven interactive stories and multimedia narratives.