Looking for a different kind of conference experience when you arrive at ONA15? Then look no further — that’s what the annual unconference is for.

TinyLetter_LogoWhat is the unconference, you ask? Every year, a team of volunteers gets attendees to submit their ideas for what they think should be a part of the official conference but isn’t. It could be a panel, it could be a hands-on workshop, it could be a roundtable discussion. We’re here to help you make those ideas into realities.

Today, we kick off the launch of this year’s unconference. You can start submitting your session ideas on our Tumblr site or get inspired and see what others have pitched (once they start coming in, of course); you’ll have until the end of the first day of the conference, Thursday, Sept. 24, to do that. Then, on Friday, Sept. 25, you’ll see us wandering around the conference hotel, trying to get people to vote (please vote!). We’ll tally the votes that night, announce which sessions have been selected and work with the people putting on the sessions to make sure things go as smoothly as possible. The sessions will then be held on Saturday, Sept. 26, alongside the official schedule.

The unconference has proven successful and popular since it began in 2009. We helped #wjchat meet up in person for the first time, we’ve thought about how news organizations view their audiences, we’ve analyzed which headlines work and which don’t. Our sessions are often smaller than those in the official schedule, allowing attendees to not only hear from the people putting on the panel, but also have more in-depth discussion, participation and connections.

You’ll find the pitching form and more information about the unconference at onaunconference.tumblr.com.

Have any other questions? Give us a shout at onaunconference@gmail.com.

And finally, we’d like to give a huge thanks to TinyLetter for their continued support of the ONA unconference!

Happy brainstorming!

Estepa_Jess_120Jessica Estepa is an assistant homefront editor at USA TODAY. She has been involved with ONA since 2009, starting with the student newsroom and now as the team captain of the unconference track for the past five years and as an organizer of the #ONADC chapter. A recovering congressional and federal government reporter, she likes waffles and news.