ONA Weekly #340: 2020 Proud Moments From The ONA Community

By on December 23, 2020

Proud moments of 2020 from the ONA Community

After a tough year, we wanted to celebrate everything the ONA Community has done to meet new challenges, innovate and take risks. We asked: What’s something you’re proud of from 2020? Here’s what some of you sent in.

I had the good fortune to begin my role as Director of Audience and Engagement at Carolina Public Press in March 2020. What a year to begin working for a news organization! One of my personal highlights was to help carry the organization’s new website development project to the finish line in July. Launching the new site and assisting with the implementation of new integrations gave us the flexibility to spotlight pandemic and election news for our readers in exciting ways. The new site also provides the organization with new avenues for ongoing growth as we head into our 10th anniversary year in 2021.Ellen S. Acconcia, Director of Audience and Engagement, Carolina Public Press
Hyperlocal news site The Wanaka App added a web app to its mobile app publishing platform. Readership in 2020 is up 233% and reach is five times the size of the local population. The readership growth is now driving revenue growth to record levels and securing 10% of the local advertising market. — Tony O’Regan, Managing Director, The Wanaka App
At Next City, we create ebooks bundling our best (already reported) content into a shareable, portable PDF or epub, which we then offer to readers at a pay-what-you-wish price. These are gorgeously designed ebooks, but with a correspondingly long production time. I spearheaded the creation of “flash ebooks”—minimally-designed ebooks that are meant to quickly collate reported stories on an issue that is timely or in the news. They’ve seen impressive engagement with nearly as many people downloading the “flash” ebooks as they do the “pretty” ones! — Rachel Kaufman, Senior Editor, Next City.
Three big proud moments for me in 2020: I launched the podcast Hope In Darkness, the story of an American jailed unjustly in Venezuela for two years, figured out a whole new way to do my job from home in a pandemic (including recording said podcast in my closet!) and got approval for my thesis project at the University of Missouri. Becky Bruce Zani, Executive Producer of Digital Content, KSL NewsRadio in Salt Lake City.
As a former cheesemonger, I’m especially proud of a story I wrote about some of the world’s best blue cheeses. I highlighted the incredible variety of blue cheese out there and celebrated some wonderful makers in a very challenging year. I think I convinced some blue cheese skeptics to give it a try. — Kate Shannon, Deputy Editor, America’s Test Kitchen Reviews
Laid off at the start of the COVID pandemic, I took the opportunity to start a new media company with my wife, Christine Suh, building on the award-winning lobbying series I’d created for my former employer. Launched on June 1, Foreign Lobby Report has become the go-to resource for comprehensive coverage of foreign influence efforts in Washington, attracting tens of thousands of views from all over the world every month. Buoyed by the success of our first six months, we’re looking forward to adding contributors and continuing to grow in 2021!Julian Pecquet, Founder and Editor, Foreign Lobby Report
Public News Service is thrilled to be able to maintain and even slightly add staff positions in a year of unprecedented challenge, and so proud of several new cross-format collaborations: creating and distributing audio versions of stories from YES! Magazine, Eye on Ohio, USA Today, the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, Raleigh News & Observer (funded by the Pulitzer Center). Free Speech TV piloted video versions of our daily newscasts, including “2020Talks,” a co-production with Pacifica Network. Lark Corbeil, Founder, Public News Service
For four years, bilingual, hyperlocal news outlet in Costa Rica La Voz de Guanacaste‘s November print edition has focused on in-depth reporting about gender violence in the area. This year, due to the pandemic, we were forced to cancel our print efforts, move out of our office and start our own digital transformation challenge, hoping we’d remain afloat for the rest of the year. Against all odds, we just published our first fully digital edition, along with our very first AR experience—which was outside our comfort zone—and the first one in Central American media.Gabriela Brenes, Directora Ejecutiva, La Voz de Guanacaste
Whatever you did this year, you deserve a big congratulations. We can’t wait to see what the ONA Community does in 2021. We’re taking a break for the holidays, but you can expect this newsletter back in your inbox on Jan. 6. 

Explore takeaways from ONA20

We’ve got one more end-of-the-year gift for you: a compilation of takeaways from ONA20 Everywhere, created by the volunteer Resource Team, led by Gracie Mckenzie. The notes are available without ONA20 registration and cover a selection of sessions, including Develop and Implement a TikTok Strategy for News, Even if You’re a Tiny Team and How To Future-Proof Your Career. Explore the full archive and find inspiration for projects to tackle next year.  


Apply to the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship

Applications for the 2021-2022 Knight-Bagehot Fellowship year are open. Learn more here and apply by Jan. 31.

Upcoming events

ONA Local groups regularly host events for digital journalists all over the world. Find a group near you or learn how to start a new one. Note: All ONA Local events are currently happening online, and open to all regardless of where you’re located.

Career opportunities

ONA’s Career Center is an excellent resource for jobs, fellowships and internships in digital journalism. Recent postings include:

On our radar