This is the first in a series of blog posts to help you decipher each program track at ONA15. You can sort our schedule by your own favorite track by clicking on any of the gray boxes on the main session page.

media-impact-project-203x300There are so many great sessions at ONA15, it can be difficult to decide which to attend! Here we’ll preview sessions specific to the Audience Engagement + Impact track to help guide you in choosing your discussions. And don’t forget, for every track we’ll be hosting Table Talks, an open forum for discussing solutions to a variety of challenges in your area of interest or expertise. The Audience Engagement + Impact Track is generously supported by the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center Media Impact Project.

Audience Engagement

Managing social media across multiple accounts is a tricky prospect. You need to sound like you, and, often, your company. You also need to match audience expectations — friendly and personable on Facebook, pithy on Twitter, visually compelling on Instagram. That’s a lot to balance. Mashable’s Ryan Lytle and NowThis’ Sarah Frank — two experts who work across multiple channels every day — will share tips and insights into how to resonate with your community in Planning for Platform: Targeting Social Media Messages Across Different Channels.

We all know that the expectation for receiving a la carte news is the new norm for our audiences.’s Greg Emerson, the Wall Street Journal’s Carla Zanoni and the Fort Collins Coloradoan’s Alexandra Smith will discuss how to develop a good strategy in A 3-Part Plan for Audience Engagement, including metrics, social media and newsletters.

And speaking of newsletters, we took a cue from a popular ad-hoc session at ONA14 and created a formal session for Product Managing Your Newsletter, led by BuzzFeed’s Millie Tran and Muck Rack’s Greg Galant.

Metrics and Impact

Impact is a great buzzword, but it can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. We asked our presenters to help newsrooms consider what impact means to them, and how defining it can help drive decisions. Tow Center Fellow Michael Keller and Yale Knight Law and Media Fellow Caitlin Petre will kick things off with a view of both qualitative and quantitative analytics and will share case studies in Moving the Needle: What’s Your Impact?.

In Find the Metrics That Matter for Your Newsrooms, Gannett’s Anjanette Delgado and Rob Gates, along with Humana’s Sara Thompson, will talk about cutting through the noise and zeroing in on what metrics you should care about, and how they can help inform decisions.

What’s Next for Audience Interactions

We all know commenting systems are broken. One of the most exciting projects aiming to address this issue is The Coral Project, a collaborative effort to improve communities on news sites through open-source software, led by staff from Knight-Mozilla OpenNews, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Project leads Greg Barber, Tara Adiseshan, and Francis Tseng are inviting ONA15 attendees to help shape their ambitious project, making sure it’s useful for newsrooms everywhere, in Engaging Communities from the Ground Up With The Coral Project.

Many newsrooms want to attract a more diverse audience, and recognize the need to hire and develop staff that reflect that audience. In Tomorrowland: The Staff and Audience We Should Be Building Toward, Nieman Lab’s Justin Ellis and Acast’s Caitlin Thompson will look at how organizations recruit diverse talent and create space for experimentation.

We hope you’ll have a chance to explore these sessions and many others, and use our amazing networking opportunities to meet colleagues who share your passions and interests.

Stay tuned for our next post, exploring the Developer Tools + Tech Track, and see you in LA!


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