Samantha Ragland presents at the local leaders summit during ONA17, Oct. 4, 2017, in Washington, DC. Ragland and four others make up the ONA Speakers Bureau, a team of training consultants ONA has brought on to develop a training curriculum for ONA Local groups. (Photos by Anya Semenoff/Online News Association)

Expanding support for local journalism through a Speakers Bureau

By on January 10, 2018

The Online News Association is excited to introduce the ONA Local Speakers Bureau, an initiative that builds on the success of the ONA Local groups in supporting local journalism communities.

When we launched ONA Local, our goal was to grow local networks of digital journalists committed to sharing best practices. Today ONA Local is a global network of over 70 meetup groups connecting local journalism and technology communities with regular training and professional development opportunities. In 2017, ONA Local’s volunteer leaders organized 186 events, launched 11 new meetup groups and added nearly 3,300 new members across the ONA Local network.

As the network has grown, so has our understanding of the needs and impact of local journalism communities. One of those needs is training. Our communities love to get together and talk about the latest trends in the industry, but what brings people out over and over again is the opportunity to pick up or hone a skill they can bring back to their newsroom the next day. What would look like if we strengthened the process of connecting communities with training and perhaps even helped groups discover new ideas for events?

Enter the Speakers Bureau. We have enlisted five consultants to design tailored workshops for ONA Local communities. Consultants will deliver in-person workshops for various U.S.-based ONA Local groups and webinars open to the broader ONA Local community. In addition, resources from the in-person training will be available for other ONA Local leaders to adapt and replicate in their own communities. Trainings will vary in focus—from data journalism to cross-platform storytelling, social media newsgathering tools, newsletter strategies and more.

Want to participate in one of these workshops? Find a Local group near you or learn how to start a new group. For updates on upcoming events and webinars, subscribe to ONA Weekly.

Meet the Speakers Bureau

Deputy Director, Product
News Catalyst
Director of Digital Content Strategy, Florida Group
GateHouse Media
Managing Editor
Ark Republic
The Lens