Wednesday, Oct. 21-22, 2009 • Ann Arbor, Michigan

Parachute Training: Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Online News Association is pleased to provide a full day of intensive hands-on training to independent, community, non-profit, displaced and currently employed journalists and bloggers on Oct. 22 in Ann Arbor, Mich., as part of our new Parachute Training Initiative, supported by a $50,000 seed grant from the Gannett Foundation.

The event is open to the first 100 registrants.

The training has been customized based on a survey of journalists in the area, and is offered in two tracks — beginner and intermediate — to cover multimedia, blogging, mobile, legal and business issues, marketing through social networks and finding your niche on the Web. There also will be two half-day video sessions, limited to 25 participants on a first-come, first-served basis (on-site), and a session on legal issues.

As a bonus, attendees also are invited to an evening of conversation to unearth the news and information needs of the local community on Oct. 21, by The Poynter Institute.

All events will be held at the Campus Inn in Ann Arbor.

There is a $10 charge that will be applied toward meals.

Parachute Training: Ann Arbor, Mich. Agenda


4:30 p.m. Citizen journalism workshop

6 p.m. Reception

7 – 9 p.m. What Now?: What’s working in other communities not served by a newspaper? What are the immediate and long-term remedies in Ann Arbor? Where can other organizations step in and serve the community?


8 a.m. Registration

9 a.m. – noon Video Session 1 (limited to 25 participants)
The Fundamentals of Shooting, Editing and Posting Video: We’ll discuss why and when video is needed as a storytelling tool. This is a hands-on tutorial with an experienced videographer, intended for beginners who should bring their own cameras and laptops. Professional-quality equipment is not necessary. (An inexpensive Flip video camcorder, for example, will work just fine.)

Presentation and resources: Google Docs

Trainer: Tiffany Campbell, Producer for Enterprise,

Session 1: 9 – 10:25 a.m.

Track 1: Finding Your Niche
How individual journalists can take advantage of the unique attributes of the Web to identify and deliver the news and information that folks need and want. We’ll first take a look at how you define your niche in a crowded media landscape. Then we’ll discuss immediacy, aggregation, interactivity, multimedia, database utility and social networking.

Handouts: Blog checklist, What makes a good blog?

Trainers: Ken Sands, ONA Board member, and Kelly McBride, Poynter Faculty

Track 2: Reporting with the Web
How reporters can use social media/aggregators/RSS/Web tools to be better reporters and how editors can use them to distribute their content. You’ll learn the skill of reporting with the Web, using sourcing and crowding-sourcing and engaging with users who are working alongside you. Learn how to uncover stories that only exist because of the Web, and gain more depth and context from the Web for your traditional content.

Trainers: T.J. Ortenzi, Associate News Editor, The Huffington Post

Session 2: 10:35 a.m. – noon

Track 1: Blogging Effectively
We’ll narrow our focus in this second session, discussing blog software, frequency of posting, interacting with readers, a corrections policy, how blog writing is different and turning your life over to the blog.

Trainer: Ken Sands, ONA Board member, and Kelly McBride, Poynter Faculty

Track 2: Going Mobile
Up to 70 percent of all mobile Web browsing is done on an iPhone. What does that mean for news providers? When will folks monetize mobile? What phone should a journalist have? When is it a good idea to develop an app on the side? Should you blog/take video or live-stream from your phone? What is the percentage of mobile readers vs. computer-based readers?

Presentation: Mobile: The Future Is Now

Trainer: Jim Brady, U.S. Consulting Editor, The Guardian

Noon – 1:30 p.m.: Lunch and networking

1:30 – 4:30 p.m.: Video Session 2 (limited to 25 participants)
Production Values: From the 30 seconds of the burning house to a produced tier three that gives you context, b-roll and true narrative, this class will arm every journalist with good Web video production values. We’ll also talk about the technical side — editing programs, camera choices and production/hosting solutions. Laptops will be helpful but not necessary.

Presentation and resources: Google Docs

Trainer: Tiffany Campbell, Producer for Enterprise,

Session 3: 1:30 – 2:55 p.m.

Tracks 1 and 2: Legal Issues
Jon Hart, a founding member and ONA counsel, will focus on basic issues involving aggregation, plagiarism, libel, comments and group insurance for bloggers. When can you be liable for content that your readers post? Are you better off policing user postings or remaining hands-off? Can other sites really post your headlines without your permission? What can you “borrow” from other sites? Why do Web sites display privacy policies and visitor agreements? Where can you find affordable libel insurance?

Trainer: Jon Hart, Dow Lohnes PLLC in Washington, D.C. (via Skype)

Session 4: 3:05-4:30 p.m.

Track 1: Self Promotion
How do you market yourself through social networking and find pay for your work? How do you connect with an audience on Twitter and Facebook and grow traffic to your blog? This session will focus on developing recognition for your blog by branding, or developing a distinctive voice, as well as managing your online reputation/personal brand.


Trainer: Shawn Smith, Optimal Webworks/New Media Bytes

Track 2: How to Turn Your Blog Into a Business
At a time when staff and dollars are stretched and venture capital is scarce, a good business plan is essential to getting the resources you need or attracting the investors you want. This session poses the questions you must answer and how you should organize a business plan that will clearly lay out the elements of your project, along with strategies for growth and success, including change management.

Presentation: Will Blog for Food

Trainer: Neil Chase, Federated Media

gannett-foundationThanks to the Gannet Foundation for supporting ONACamps since 2009.


Wednesday, Oct. 21-22, 2009



Campus Inn, Ann Arbor

15 E. Huron St.