How to connect with your local digital journalism community at ONA17

We often hear after ONA conferences that folks are inspired to find all the like-minded digital journalists in their communities and keep the camaraderie and learning going all year long. They happen to run into someone who shares a zip code at ONA’s conference and realize they should be getting together more regularly than once a year.

That’s where ONA Local comes in. It’s our network of more than 70 meetup groups around the world where journalists gather on a regular basis to talk shop about things like VR/360 and drones for storytelling, learn Snapchat techniques, practice their coding chops, get a chance to network, combat “fake news”, have conversations with industry leaders and much, much more.

If you want to get connected with ONA Local at ONA17, here’s how:

Hang out with ONA DC

The local group in D.C. is planning back-to-back events to help you connect with the local journalism community here and get to see an ONA Local event in person. First, they’ll partner with several other journalism groups to co-host Crowdsauced III, an engagement journalism networking happy hour in its third year running. After that, gather up your new friends and head down the street to celebrate the start of ONA17 with an ONA DC karaoke session.

Join us Thursday, 4:45-6 p.m., for the ONA Local Open House

ONA Local leaders and community members gathered at the ONA Local Open House at ONA16. (Photo by Anya Semenoff/Online News Association)
The ONA Local Open House is your opportunity to find your neighbors at ONA17. We’ll have meeting points set for different regions of the U.S. and international groups, so you can find your region and network with people who live near you. Look for your group or, if one doesn’t exist yet, find others who are interested in starting one near you and exchange information to coordinate when you get home. This event is open to all registered ONA17 attendees interested in ONA Local, but those who RSVP on Eventbrite will get a free drink ticket. This event typically fills quickly, so RSVP and reserve your spot soon! We’ll also have a cash bar and light snacks for all.

Start a group in your community

Once you’ve found your organizing partners, keep the momentum going when you get home by planning your first meetup. Many ONA Local groups host popular conference recap events to discuss key takeaways, like this one in Philly. That can be a great way to bring together digital journalists, identify more organizing help and talk about what further training and networking opportunities they’d like to see in your community. Learn about what it takes to start a group and fill out our new group interest form to let us know when you’re ready to get going.

Meghan is a community builder with a passion for media and education. She is responsible for expanding ONA’s local groups in cities around the world and connecting local digital journalism communities online and offline, providing in-person and virtual support and identifying, training and supporting group leaders.