Starting a new ONA Local group

Interested in starting a new ONA Local group? We’d love to hear from you! There are three easy steps to get your group going:

Step 1: Recruit your leadership team

We find that groups do best when there’s a diverse group of about three to six leaders at the helm to cover a range of skill sets required for organizing. When you’re thinking about recruiting your leadership team, think about diversity in every sense: background and experience, networks, skills sets, professional goals and so on.

Roles you’ll want to fill include:

  • detail-oriented planners who can coordinate meeting logistics like vendors, catering, space and invitations
  • super-connectors and newsroom heads 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
  • subject matter experts who are in touch with all the latest digital trends and can come up with top-notch programming ideas and tap speakers for events

Look for leaders in your own organization and among your industry friends. Ask newsroom managers to help you identify emerging leaders within their teams who would benefit from getting involved with group leadership as a professional development opportunity. Sometimes, just asking for input or advice from industry experts can lead to introductions, too. We’re happy to tap into the ONA network in your area to track down leads on interested people, too.


Step 2: Set a plan and your goals

There are a few questions we typically ask of new group leaders to get them thinking about planning and setting goals for their groups. You may not know the answers to every question yet — and that’s ok — but they’re designed to get you thinking about the group’s direction and opportunities:

  • What community impact are you trying to achieve?
  • How do you plan to recruit members for the group?
  • How often do you aim to meet?
  • What long term projects may your group be interested in collaborating on for your community?
  • What local media, digital and tech connections and resources do you plan to reach out to?
  • What local media and tech connections would you like to make in the future for sponsorship, speakers, or hosting your group?


Step 3: Let us know you’re interested

When you’re ready to get your new group going, fill out our new organizer interest form with as much information as you have ready. (Don’t worry if you can’t answer everything yet.) We’ll be in touch to set up a time to talk through next steps.

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