What is ONA Local?

ONA Local is a global network of journalism communities hosting networking and training events at the intersection of journalism and technology. These collaborative and resource-sharing communities are essential to achieving ONA’s mission of driving innovation in journalism.

Does ONA have chapters?

No. We call them groups, not chapters. There’s a legal definition to the word “chapter” that doesn’t match the way our network is structured.

Who leads ONA Local groups?

Each group is led by local volunteer organizers who are dedicated to supporting and growing innovation in their local journalism community. Organizers lead the operational strategy for the ONA Local group, ensure there’s diversity in speakers and topics and collect feedback from the community. Many groups also have other coordinators and one-off event volunteers who support the operations of the group.

Do I have to be a member to attend an ONA Local event?

Nope, although we are always happy to welcome new members.

Do I have to be a reporter to attend an ONA Local event?

The ONA community is full of people in all different roles dedicated to building a bright future for journalism. That includes newsroom managers, business leaders, publishers, partners, product managers, developers, editors, reporters, engagement managers, educators, students and much more. Plus there are lots of people who are looking for a job in journalism or interested in a career change. As long as you’re excited about the future of journalism, you’ll fit right in at ONA. You’ll find the programming at most ONA Local events is geared towards people in some kind of journalism production or management role in newsrooms or who are looking for those roles.

Why should I attend an ONA Local meetup?

Have you ever been in a room full of people who just get it, surrounded by a bunch of innovative, enthusiastic and forward-thinking journalism professionals who are excited about the future of our industry? ONA Local is your year-round, close-to-home connection to that sense of community. Whether it’s a training workshop or a networking event, you’ll walk away inspired, having learned something new, and with a few new friends.

“The very first ONA Local event I attended was an all-day workshop at a local university. I signed up because I figured it would be a pretty good networking opportunity and hey, it was free. I watched speaker after speaker take the mic and just gush about the coolest journalism topics ever — interesting new apps, VR experiences, Facebook Live best practices. These were the kinds of things I liked to read and talk about, but I figured conversations like this only existed in J-School and New York-based online news organizations. I was so, so happy to be wrong.”
— ONA South Florida member

What is ONA looking to get out of ONA Local groups?

ONA Local groups are an avenue to bring together the ONA community year-round and to help journalists around the world access that same skillbuilding and camaraderie that they find at our conferences closer to home. We always welcome ONA Local members to make it official and become members of ONA, but we don’t have any goals for membership conversion or revenue for this program. In short, it matters to us that groups are being good stewards of our organization, i.e., following our Code of Conduct, making it an inclusive community in good faith with our mission.

I’d like to offer my services as a speaker or trainer at an ONA Local event. How can I do that?

ONA Local Organizers determine the programming strategy for local meetups at the local level. You can pitch your idea to them directly for consideration; just find your group’s organizers or their email forwarder on their group page through our ONA Local locator map. And if you’re interested in speaking, we always recommend you attend a meetup first to get a sense for the group and introduce yourself to the organizers.

I’d like to offer to host, sponsor or support an ONA Local meetup. How can I do that?

ONA Local groups are always looking for great meeting space, as well as support for food and beverages and supplies. Usually, they can offer in exchange a few minutes for a brief welcome from your organization in the program. If you’re interested in helping a single group, you can reach out to them directly. If you need an introduction to your group’s organizers, email Meghan at local@journalists.org.

I’d like to volunteer with my ONA Local group or join the leadership team. How can I do that?

You can find the organizers for your ONA Local group through our group locator page. Get in touch with them directly and let them know how you’d like to help. They’re usually looking for:

  • Detail-oriented planners who can coordinate hospitality at meetups, including catering, sign up, swag and more
  • Talented communicators and marketers who can help them get the word out about events and build their membership
  • Partnership experts who can help them broker relationships with host organizations, sister organizations and sponsors
  • Super-connectors who are deeply tapped into the local journalism community and can advocate for the group and open doors to get access to space, resources, speakers and talent
How do you decide where ONA Local groups should be?

It’s by community application. There are lots of places we’d love to have ONA Local groups but we haven’t found the organizers yet.

There isn’t an ONA Local group near me yet. How can I fix that?

If you’re interested in starting an ONA Local group, you can find out more details about applying on our Start a New ONA Local Group page.

I have another question.

Feel free to contact Meghan Murphy, ONA’s Sr. Manager of Communities and Local Journalism Initiatives, for any more information.