ONA Community Circles are designed to address important challenges within the digital journalism community.

Community Circles are small virtual project and discussion groups consisting of 10-20 members ONA is bringing together to tackle an important issue in the digital journalism community. These circles:

  • Provide a way to connect with peers in an unprecedented global crisis
  • Create a space to talk about common challenges
  • Create resources to share with the broader community

ONA is providing:

  • A trained host to lead virtual conversation and collaboratiom
  • Collaboration resources to get groups started

Participants will select from two topics that resonated with the ONA community during the last Community Circles gatherings, and meet to collaborate on a shared resource for the community. We’re activating this round of Community Circles around two questions:

Project 1: How might we better handle misinformation around public health issues?

The aim of this project will be to create a shareable playbook of resources for newsrooms on tackling misinformation with an intersectional lens. The group will work to collect the many existing resources and case studies about news organizations’ digital strategies around public health crises to create a shared resource document, summarizing what we’ve learned in the past six months about how public health misinformation spreads, what newsrooms should look out for and how they can respond and prevent misinformation from spreading in their communities. Members of the Circle can also fill gaps they find in their research with original content based on their experiences, and should consider intersectionality in evaluating the strategies and best practices and look for gaps where existing resources haven’t addressed the impacts of misinformation on marginalized communities.

Facilitators: Smitha Khorana, Newsroom Outreach Lead at Data & Society, and Fergus Bell, ONA Board Member

Project 2: How might we ensure information access equity in our communities?

This working group will aim to create a guide for news organizations to ensure equitable information access in their communities, including how to identify gaps in access, how to consider access across languages, technology/delivery, coverage and more. The Circle will develop a central equity and accessibility hub where newsrooms can learn more about the factors they need to take into consideration, and find case studies and existing resources relevant to the topic.

Facilitators: Vanessa Maria Graber, News Voices NJ Manager at Free Press, and Anita Li, ONA Board Member


In March 2020, ONA reached out to the community to ask how people were doing and what they needed during the COVID-19 crisis. We heard that first and foremost, people miss one another, and could use some solace among peers. Beyond that, we noted a range of needs from addressing immediate logistical issues to anxiety over the long-term implications of this global crisis.

ONA Community Circles are designed to address our community’s challenges. Each circle is essentially a small virtual discussion group, which presents an opportunity for a deeper connection among peers. Further, each circle will have a shared project outcome.

Apply Now


Frequently Asked Questions

Who should join Community Circles?

Anyone who is interested in collaborating with peers to produce a resource on one of the topics in a working group setting is welcome to join. You’ll have a chance to learn from journalism peers who have similar expertise and be a part of creating a rich resource for the rest of the community on the topic you tackle.

How will my Circle collaborate?

Each Community Circle will have a kickoff video call on Zoom in late October 2020 and meet 3-4 more times for shorter weekly check-in meetings to update on progress on the project. ONA will set up a Slack channel for each project in the ONA Local Slack community. We’ll also create a collaborative Google Doc for each circle.

What do you expect to come out of this?

Both Community Circles have a specific project outcome they will collaborate on and come up with a final resource.

What is the time commitment involved?

Participants will be expected to join a one-hour kickoff meeting in late October and then 3-4 shorter, half-hour check-ins up to once a week for the next 4 weeks, until the project is completed in late November. Participants can expect to spend around 2 hours asynchronously researching and contributing to the project  between meetings, as well.

Can I join both Circles?

Given the time commitment involved, we want to make sure everyone who joins is able to devote the amount of time needed to be a true contributor to the project. Therefore we’re asking you to choose just one of the working groups.