Los Angeles

Author: Jane McDonnell

Why local journalists can help save local journalism

By Jane McDonnell, Executive Director

Never underestimate the power of connections. In 2008, the Online News Association launched ONA Local, groups of like-minded journalists in cities large and small who organized themselves — meeting up in bars, swapping war stories, sharing the excitement and fears they felt about the potential of this digital journalism thing.

Seven years later, there are 50 unique groups around the world representing 10,000 participants, ranging from the largest (2,000-plus in Washington, D.C., and New York) to the smallest (29 and growing in Detroit) to the newest (ONA Singapore). Events range from simple get-togethers to sophisticated monthly meet-ups with high-end speakers and trainers. They all share ideas for innovative ways to cover news, spark collaborations, use the latest tools, and job openings. Continue reading


We recently announced a generous grant from the Knight Foundation to expand and strengthen ONA Local groups across the U.S. We know you might have questions about the program and how it will work. If you don’t see an answer to your question below, just let us know at local@journalists.org.

If you’re interested in starting or leading an ONA Local group in your town, city or state, please fill out this form, and we’ll follow up with you as we plan for 2016. Continue reading

Cant-miss guide to ONA15: Jane McDonnell’s picks

Note: This is one of a series of posts written by ONA staff and conference organizers recommending sessions they feel will be particularly interesting. Previous recommendations came from Julie Westfall and Luis Gomez, co-chairs of the ONA15 Program Team,  and ONA staff: Jen Mizgata, Senior Communications Manager, Jess Strelitz, Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships, Jeremiah Patterson, Digital Manager, Deputy Director Irving Washington and Digital Director, Trevor KnoblichThis final list was created by Jane McDonnell, ONA Executive Director.

Jane McDonnell

Jane McDonnell

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” — Peter Drucker.

“You can say that again.” — Every journalist in the world.

ONA15 will offer lots of strategies and real-world tips for folks to take back to their newsrooms, and hooray for that. But anyone who’s lived through journalism since the mid-1990s knows that the hardest struggles — and most-effective successes — have been in changing the top-down, guardian-at-the-gate culture of news organizations.  We’ve blended newsrooms,  we’ve pushed for digital-only, and we’ve started up from scratch, building a new paradigm. Continue reading

Student Newsroom alumni: Where are they now? Everywhere!


Kevin Loker

If you’re a Student Newsroom alum headed to ONA15 in Los Angeles, hit us up ahead of time. We’re planning a get-together for beer, catching up and to help us think through how best to connect all of the great “graduates” in the future. Feel free to contact me at kevin.loker@pressinstitute.org.


When the 20 young journalists from around the world settle into the ONA15 Student Newsroom later this month, they’ll be starting on an incredible journey to learn, practice and network. A few days, bylines and karaoke-filled nights later, they’ll join the ranks of the 200 hand-picked students who have covered 12 conferences since 2003, many of them now doing some amazing work in digital media. Continue reading