Next Gen

A key component of ONA’s mission is to identify, encourage and support the digital journalists who are shaping the future of the industry. They are part of the new generation of journalists who seamlessly combine tools and technology into start-up, reporting, writing, visuals, production and distribution.

Two ONA programs are aimed at college students and under-30 professionals:

The AP-Google Journalism & Technology Scholarship

This new program, managed by ONA, will provide $20,000 scholarships to six promising undergraduate or graduate students pursuing or planning to pursue degrees at the intersection of journalism, computer science and new media. The program, funded by the Associated Press and Google, is targeted to individual students creating innovative projects that further the ideals of digital journalism. A key goal is to promote geographic, gender and ethnic diversity, with an emphasis on rural and urban areas.



The scholarships are open to college sophomores or higher with at least one year of full-time undergraduate or graduate study remaining. Applicants must submit a project or concept that explains how his or her strategy moves digital journalism forward. Scholarship winners also will receive a one-year ONA membership and recognition at ONA’s 2012 conference in San Francisco.

“We’re proud to be part of the AP-Google Journalism and Technology Scholarship program,” said ONA Executive Director Jane McDonnell. “Our hope is to shine a light on the hidden treasures in schools across the country — the digital-minded journalists who will be the future of our industry.”

See the AP-Google Journalism and Technology Scholarship section for more information and to view the current recipients.

Challenge Fund

The goal of the $1M Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education is to hack the journalism curriculum using customized versions of the teaching hospital model. The fund supports universities to partner with news organizations, and explore new ways of providing information to their local communities.

Winners receive up to $35,000 in micro-grants to support live, local news experiments. Winners can then compete to win up to $100,000 in additional grand prizes for best project and evaluation.

MJ Bear Fellowship

Each year, ONA awards Fellowships in the name of the late MJ Bear, a much-loved ONA founding member, to three stand-out journalists under age 30 — two in the United States or Canada and one international, in partnership with MSN International — whose innovative work in independent, community and corporate news represents the best of new media.

Fellows are assigned a personal ONA mentor for six months; paid expenses for and recognition at the ONA conference, and a one-year ONA membership.

Read about MJ Bear and the eligibility criteria and application process here. And look for updates on the progress of our three current Fellows.