In 2018, ONA organized an open network of newsrooms who are deeply committed to diversifying their organizations through mentorship programs.

About the Program

Members of the ONA community have often cited the lack of diversity in newsrooms as one of the biggest challenges in journalism. Newsrooms need clarity on mentorship, training, retention and more. The Collaborative’s goal was to make newsrooms more inclusive by sharing best practices and fresh ideas on mentorship programs. Read more about the program.

This was a limited-time program in 2018, and is no longer operating. Check out other current programs and opportunities with ONA.

More than 125 participants from over 100 organizations

Organizations represented among collaborative participants include…


The Collaborative had a six-person leadership team led by Doug Mitchell. This team was responsible for developing the curriculum for webinars and fellowship training; creating and curating resources for the Collaborative to use in their mentoring programs; and providing regional-specific coaching to the fellowship participants.

Project Founder / Director
Next Generation Radio, NPR
Product Manager
The Daily Beast
Human Resources Manager
Chicago Public Media
Opinion and Engagement Director
USA TODAY Network Tennessee
2020 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow,
Stanford University
University of Nevada, Reno


Director, Audience Innovation
Arizona Republic
ONA Board President
Editor, Newsroom Development & Support
The New York Times
VP and Senior Director
American Press Institute

Online News Association Head of Programs and Events Trevor Knoblich and Community Manager Meghan Murphy are also staff advisors.

Fellowship and funding

Newsrooms that joined the broader Collaborative had the opportunity to apply for a fellowship opportunity and up to $5,000 in funding for innovative ideas in their mentorship programs, drawn from a pool of $125,000. Applications are now closed. ONA selected a cohort group of 15-25 professionals that are recognized mentorship leaders inside their organizations. Selected participants received:

  • Two days of detailed training and discussion on best practices for improving mentoring in newsrooms. The training was held in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Access to an expert coach in your region to help develop and achieve goals for your mentoring program through Sept. 30, 2018.
  • An online community for bouncing ideas off of other Fellows in the program.
  • Award funds of up to $5,000 for your organization to support your mentorship program, as well as compensation for your time away, drawn from a total pool of $125,000.
  • A chance to showcase your work: up to two fellows were selected to speak at ONA18, alongside some of the program coaches, to share best practices learned along the way with the ONA community.