Below are Frequently Asked Questions about our ONA Local program. Need more help? Contact our ONA Community Manager, Meghan Murphy: meghan@journalists.org

What is ONA Local?

ONA Local is a global network of volunteer organizers hosting networking and training events for local journalism and technology communities. These collaborative and resource-sharing communities are essential to achieving ONA’s mission of connecting journalism, technology and innovation.

What is ONA Local’s mission?

Here’s our ONA Local manifesto: We are greenhouses for journalism innovation. We are here to help you make things that make you proud. We bring together storytellers, innovators, trailblazers and problem solvers. We believe in connecting face to face, in nerding out, in collaboration, and in high fives.

We seek out perspectives that are different from our own. We elevate the best and brightest innovations in our communities. We experiment. We are teachers and lifelong learners, sharing inspiration and skills that we can take back to our newsrooms and classrooms to help us serve the public.

Who can be an ONA Local leader?

Anyone passionate about connecting digital journalists is welcome to be a Local leader. You don’t have to be a member of ONA to apply, although we love to have our members involved in their Local groups. We find that there are a couple of key skill sets needed to organize a group, so we suggest recruiting a team of leaders that can each bring something to the table, including:

  • Attention to detail/organizational chops for handling event logistics
  • Connectivity within the journalism community, to help the group get access to partners, space and speakers
  • Subject matter expertise for programming

Why should I be an ONA Local leader?

ONA Local group leaders help shape the future of journalism by organizing networking events, training opportunities and public discussions with and for your local journalism community. Group organizers are thought leaders, blazing a trail for digital journalism. Being an organizer helps you make new contacts, and serves as an opportunity to shine in front of the entire ONA network. You’ll get to support digital journalism innovation in your community, spotlight the amazing work that’s going on there, and get access to our network of Local organizers around the world.

How do I establish an ONA Local group?

We’ve created a brief and helpful list of materials you’ll need to establish an ONA Local group in your area.

Get Started

How will ONA help my group get started?

Once you’ve gone through the steps to start your new group and talked to ONA’s community manager, Meghan Murphy, we’ll let you know your group has been approved. At that point, ONA will provide:

  • Seed funding to cover event expenses and marketing costs
  • A Meetup.com group to organize your community online and handle registration for events
  • A journalists.org email address for the administrator of any digital accounts
  • A customized ONA Local logo
  • Promotional templates
  • Access to the Local Leader’s Toolkit

How often does the ONA Local group need to meet?

The regularity with which your group will need to meet varies depending on the community: geographic spread, accessibility and culture of the city or region come into play. We find that typically groups need to meet at least twice a year if they’re doing more training-focused events, and at least every couple of months for more networking focused events. When you start your group, talk about goals for frequency of meetings so you can set an expectation with the members of your community. Let us know if you’d like to organize digital events like tweetups and Slack chats for your community or with another group, and we’re happy to brainstorm with you.

Leaders are encouraged to communicate more frequently with their groups to let them know about other local events of interest for journalists, as well as opportunities to get involved with ONA’s programs like fellowships, conferences and trainings. Group leaders can email members through Meetup.com, post on social media accounts, or use the ONA Local Slack group to communicate with their groups. Talking with members regularly helps keep a sense of community going between events.

Can Local organizers speak on behalf of the organization?

While the group represents ONA in their city, organizers are not authorized to speak on behalf of the organization (i.e., on policy matters) and cannot incur financial obligations without prior written approval from ONA Central.

Can I start a social web presence like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or WordPress for the local group?

Any social media or website presence using the ONA name or logo first must be approved by ONA Central. ONA reserves the right to remove any unapproved use of the organization’s name or logo.

How is ONA Local funded?

ONA Local programs are supported by a generous grant from Knight Foundation.

How can I use ONA’s branding and trademarks for my Local group?

ONA will provide groups with logos and templates for ONA Local groups to use so that they can stay in line with branding. We want to be sure that ONA Local groups are recognized as being connected to ONA and that the groups represent the organization in a professional way.

A couple points of guidance on branding, from our style guide:

  • Please use “group,” as in “our ONA Local group.” ONA does not have a chapter system (there are legal implications that go along with that term) so calling your group a “chapter” isn’t factually correct.
  • ONA hosts an annual conference, not a convention (we’re not that big!) We refer to our conferences by year, such as ONA17, ONA16, etc.
  • Say ONA or “the Online News Association” but never “the ONA.”

ONA owns several trademarks and service marks, which it considers to be its valuable intellectual property. Approved ONA Local groups are required to use only trademarks and service marks provided by ONA, and only in accordance with the ONA Local Trademark Guidelines (below). The guidelines define the scope of the ONA Local groups’ permitted use of the marks, place restrictions on the use of the marks and protect ONA’s rights in the marks. Use of the ONA trademarks and service marks by ONA Local groups will, of course, impact the reputation of ONA; ONA Local groups may use the marks only in a manner that reflects positively on ONA.

ONA will provide logos for each group. ONA Local groups may only use logos provided by ONA.

ONA Local Trademark Guidelines

ONA owns various trademarks that it uses in connection with its services, including ONA and ONLINE NEWS ASSOCIATION (collectively, the “ONA Trademarks”), and ONA Local Groups may only use ONA Trademarks in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • An ONA Local group may use the ONA Trademarks, as provided by ONA, only in connection with activities that are consistent with ONA’s mission and function as a membership organization for digital journalists, connecting journalism, technology and innovation. Provided that the uses are consistent with the previous sentence, an ONA Local group may use the ONA Trademarks to identify the ONA Local group and in connection with publications, websites and other digital services, social media pages and profiles, membership development efforts, and events sponsored by or hosted by the ONA Local group.)
  • ONA Local groups must: (1) always exhibit and display the ONA Trademarks in the exact form provided by ONA (including any notices, such as ® and TM, that ONA includes with the ONA Trademarks), unless otherwise permitted under these guidelines; (2) ensure that events, publications and other goods or services offered under the ONA Trademarks will be of high quality and commensurate with the quality of the goods and services provided by ONA in connection with its business; (3) provide samples of materials bearing the ONA Trademarks if requested by ONA; and (4) if using any of the ONA Trademarks in conjunction with a trademark of a college or university, use the college or university marks in accordance with the trademark guidelines of the institution.
  • ONA Local groups may not: (1) allow others to use or make copies of the ONA Trademarks, except as necessary to support the ONA Local groups’ authorized activities; (2) use the ONA Trademarks in any manner that may tend to tarnish, or bring disrepute upon, the reputation of or goodwill associated with the ONA Trademarks or ONA; (3) combine any ONA Trademark with any other trademark, except with the written authorization of ONA or as explicitly permitted by these guidelines; or (4) use any mark owned by ONA except as permitted in these guidelines.
  • ONA Local groups and individual members acquire no right or interest in the ONA Trademarks by virtue of the use of the ONA Trademarks, except the right to use the marks as permitted in these guidelines. All use of the ONA Trademarks by an ONA Local inures to the benefit of ONA.
  • ONA may revoke the right of any ONA Local group or individual ONA member to use the ONA Trademarks at any time, and for any reason.