NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 11: The ONA Local Summit at the Online News Association Conference at the InterContinental New Orleans on September 11, 2019, in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Daniel Petty for the Online News Association)

Join us at ONA20 Everywhere and six other learning and networking opportunities

By on May 21, 2020

ONA thrives through our willingness to experiment and adapt to the always evolving needs of our journalism and tech community. I mentioned in my last note that we’ve been discussing the changes that need to happen for the news business to thrive in the long term.

Yesterday ONA Board President Shazna Nessa shared inspiration for reimagining journalism in a letter that captures our collective vision. Today I want to tell you about how the ONA community will lead the industry in getting there.

The brief story: We’re planning new learning, networking and inspirational activities designed to serve the digital journalism community in a virtual environment. Different backdrop, same ONA energy and focus — helping you to grow and better understand and engage your audiences, and connecting you to each other to exchange ideas and build collaborations.

Here’s a detailed look at the opportunities we’re offering over the next five months:


Leadership Town Halls. These virtual conversations are open to rising and established leaders in journalism and news tech.

  • June 2020, Executive Leadership Through Crisis Series: Join fellow industry leaders for one or more conversations on challenges related to the global public health and economic crisis. Each conversation will focus on a specific, timely topic.
  • Aug.–Sept. 2020, Women’s Leadership Town Hall Series: This series will draw lessons and inspiration from the Women’s Leadership Accelerator, a year-long, cohort-based program designed to advance women in digital journalism.

Interactive Summits. These events are designed for you to collaborate with peers to generate solutions to emerging challenges and new ideas for projects and partnerships.

  • June 25-26, Audience Development and Analytics Summit: Over two half-days, we will host workshops focused on engagement, audience development and how we gauge everything, featuring the world’s most innovative practitioners and insights into the latest trends in analytics.
  • July 2020,  Emerging Tech for Journalism Summit: We’re excited to introduce the next iteration of the Journalism 360 Unconference, an annual showcase of inspiring work and best practices in 360 video, augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality. Produced in part through support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, this new summit, hosted over two half-days, expands the scope to a broader look at emerging technology, including machine learning, artificial intelligence and trends forecasting.

October 1–16, ONA20 Everywhere: Journalism Innovation Festival. This year you can participate in digital journalism’s favorite annual reunion from anywhere with a stable internet connection. Going online is in our DNA. We have been offering remote ways to access our events since 2008, and are always experimenting with ways to connect attendees and our off-site audience to resources and to each other.

ONA Chief Knowledge Officer Trevor Knoblich wrote about what to expect for ONA20 Everywhere and how we’re designing the experience.


ONA is synonymous with meaningful connections. We know you rely on this community to find professionals solving similar problems, eager to collaborate, seeking team members and trying entirely new things. Here are two new initiatives to add to your radar.

  • Ongoing, ONA Community Circles: We created these small, focused discussion groups as a rapid response to making connections in a time of physical distancing. Our first version of Community Circles quickly reached capacity, with more than 200 people exploring issues around self-care for journalists, business and revenue, leadership and reporting challenges during COVID-19. In June, we’ll launch a second round of sign-ups and group matching around themes for reimagining journalism. For each group, we provide a trained volunteer host, question prompts and guidance for getting started, and a centralized place for tools, tip sheets and resources that groups are creating.
  • Ongoing, ONA Local Wellness Series: With support from Democracy Fund, ONA Local organizers are hosting a series of events focused on wellness and self-care. These events offer a great opportunity to recharge with your journalism peers. Recent gatherings featured a virtual yoga session, sound bath meditation and catching up while learning origami folds. There are more to come, so connect with a Local group near you and subscribe to ONA Weekly for updates.

Inspiration and Resources

We’re committed to continuing the learning beyond individual events, exploring ways to capture templates or best practices and generally making opportunities accessible to more people.

  • Resources Center: Robust archive of video and audio recordings, presentations, worksheets and other resources from past conferences and training events. See featured resources or explore by topic, event or contributor
  • ONA Career Center: Bookmark this portal for jobs, fellowships and internships in digital journalism. It’s open to anyone to browse, including non-ONA members. Job seekers can now upload resumes and filter listings by career level. We add new postings every week and are working to expand features to connect recruiters with people seeking opportunities. View the latest postings.
  • Online Journalism Awards: Find inspiration from award-winning projects that demonstrate the value and impact of digital journalism. We will host a special celebration honoring 2020 finalists and winners in October; more details to come.
  • Scholarships for learning opportunities: We know this is a financially challenging time for some of you. We’re exploring ways to provide affordable access to ONA20 Everywhere and other learning opportunities for students, early-career professionals and journalists experiencing hardships due to COVID-19.

We’re so grateful for the community that has funded, volunteered, celebrated and pushed ONA forward through the last 21 years. At a time when everything feels uncertain, we find comfort and encouragement knowing how passionate you are about democracy, pursuing truth and knowledge, and supporting each other.

While parts of our lives have been put on pause, the news and ONA’s mission to inspire and support innovation and excellence in digital journalism has not. That’s why we’re asking you to continue to invest in ONA. Join us in solving for the next era, not just the next normal in journalism and tech.

Support us in two ways:

Join as an ONA member    Donate to our mission

We also rely on philanthropic and corporate support. There are many ways to invest in our mission. Reach out to Chief Strategic Partnerships Officer Jessica Strelitz at to learn more.

Thanks to everyone in our community for making this organization strong!


Irving Washington

Irving Washington is the Executive Director/CEO for the Online News Association (ONA), the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists. As a media diversity advocate, Irving has led programming and fundraising initiatives for journalists, media professionals, and students worldwide.