What “Under the Hood” sessions at ONA17 are all about

You may have noticed a new kind of session on the ONA conference schedule this year. “Under The Hood” sessions are designed to tackle broad, complex topics that have many elements worth discussing as a community.

Speakers will quickly introduce their topics, and then break into different areas of the room to do a deep dive. The aim is to give you an overview before you choose your own adventure.

Let’s use Under the Hood: Re-Imagining Legacy Newsrooms as an example. This session is all about discussing how legacy newsrooms can and need to adapt to the digital journalism environment, be it a culture-shift or a digital transformation.

The topics and their speakers are:

  • Revolution or evolution: How should legacy newsrooms tackle change? — Kristen Hare, Kameel Stanley, Robyn Tomlin
  • Inside The Philadelphia Inquirer’s digital transformation – job rotation, skills training and more — Marie Gilot, Burt Herman, Jessica Parks
  • Building a culture of constant learning: NY Times training lessons anyone can use — Eric Athas
  • Legacy: 10 ways to walk the digital walk (instead of talk the digital talk) — Teresa Frontado, Samantha Ragland, Tasha Stewart
  • The Globe and Mail Newsroom was broken; here’s how we fixed it! — Angela Pacienza
  • WAMU discusses its year-long process to re-envision what it takes for a local public radio station to both grow and support its journalistic goals — Andi McDaniel

When this session begins, each speaker will introduce their topic and their work. Then, the room will divide into discussion groups focusing on these topics and led by the corresponding speakers. Attendee participation is extremely welcome. This is a chance to ask questions and describe your own experiences, with input from fellow attendees as well.

Here are all the Under the Hood sessions happening at ONA17

On Business Ethics and Revenue

Under the Hood: 5 Takes on Revenue – This session will offer multiple discussions of the different aspects of revenue, with a chance to sit down with experts and dig into the nitty gritty of their work. We’ll open with lightning talks from everyone before we break apart into smaller groups. In one section, you’ll get lessons the News Revenue Hub has learned  about launching membership programs, featuring nonprofit news consultant Jason Alcorn, Ben Nishimoto of Honolulu CivilBeat, Aaron Sharockman of Politifact and Jenna Mallette of Rivard Report. In another area, Angus Macauley will describe how STAT-plus created an all-digital premium subscription model. The Intercept’s Kate Myers will talk earning revenue via content licensing. And finally, Tony Haile will discuss monthly subscriptions for a wide variety of news content with Scroll.

Under the Hood: Re-Imagining Legacy Newsrooms – Our “Under the Hood” series will begin with lightning talks to introduce our experts, followed by intimate talks to dig into tough subjects. You’ll have a chance to debate how legacy newsrooms should tackle change with Kristen Hare of Poynter, Kameel Stanley formerly of Tampa Bay Times and Robyn Tomlin of the Dallas Morning News. Or maybe you’d rather hear about the Philadelphia Inquirer’s digital transformation from Marie Gilot of CUNY, Bert Herman of the Lenfest Institute, Jessica Parks of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Eric Athas of the New York Times will be leading a conversation on NYT training and building a learning culture in one area, while Angela Pacienza describes how The Globe and Mail “fixed” its broken newsroom in another. Still, there are even more options: Teresa Frontado of WLRN, Samantha Ragland of the Palm Beach Post and Tasha Stewart of WCPO will show you how to “walk the digital walk.” Or you can join WAMU Chief Content Officer Andi McDaniel as she discusses its year-long process to re-envision what it takes for a local public radio station to both grow and support its journalistic goals.

On Newsgathering Tools and Techniques

Under the Hood: IRE Takeover on Data Tricks and Tactics – Our friends at the Investigative Reporters and Editors have spearheaded this “Under the Hood” session, which will begin with lightning talks to introduce experts, followed by intimate talks to dig into complex subjects. Lightning talks will focus on mid-career challenges, and then folks will break away into multiple discussions. You’ll have a chance to find out how New York Times Homeland Security Correspondent Ron Nixon, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post Investigative Reporter Kimbriell Kelly and Washington Post Database Editor for Investigations Steven Rich turn documents into data. ESPN Investigative Reporter Tisha Thompson, NPR’s Katie Park and the Washington Post’s Chiqui Esteban will describe how they create multimedia storytelling with data. Or you can join Center for Public Integrity Senior Reporter Carrie Levine and ProPublica News Apps Developer Derek Willis for a discussion on tracking money and influence in the new political landscape.

Under the Hood: Innovative Projects with Small Teams – We’ll start with lightning talks on inspired projects in local newsrooms, and what it takes to get them done even when resources may be limited. Afterwards, we’ll break into intimate discussion groups featuring real talk about what doesn’t work and tips for tackling big projects. Senior Reporter at The Salinas Californian Amy Wu will talk about surviving and thriving in a shrinking newsroom, while GateHouse Media’s Director of Innovation, Tony Elkins, and National Data Projects Editor Emily Le Coz break down how they create nationally-recognized stories in a small newsroom. Director of Content at Sierra Nevada Media Group & Swift Communications Caren Roblin will be discussing how to nail your Instagram strategy and KQED Education Digital Producer Matthew Green will talk about crafting explanatory multimedia news for high school educators and students.

Under the Hood: Connecting Our Polarized Communities – In this unconventional format, you’ll get lightning talks on five projects and studies that are looking at our polarized electorate and are working to bridge the sharp political divide, followed by intimate talks to dive into tough subjects. Ben DeJarnette, Project and Product Manager at the Agora Journalism Center and Monica Guzmán, Co-Founder of The Evergrey will share lessons from The Evergrey’s cross-community dialogue in rural Oregon on crossing the red/blue divide. Rachel Feltman, Science Editor at Popular Science and Jeffery DelViscio, Director of Multimedia and Creative at STAT will talk about how they’re using science stories to reach across the political divide. Lisa Heyamoto, Senior Instructor of Journalism at the University of Oregon and Todd Milbourn, Instructor of Journalism at the University of Oregon will talk about how real people engage with journalism in the age of misinformation. Executive Editor of 100 Days in Appalachia Dana Coester and Director of Programming at Racked.com & Vox Media Annemarie Dooling will talk about how to build audience for pop-up verticals. Trust Project Director Sally Lehrman, Chartbeat Media Research Sonya Song and ICFJ Knight Fellow Janine Warner will discuss what they’ve learned from data about politics as pop and propaganda.

Under the Hood: Epic Projects for Epic Newsrooms – In one corner, The Guardian Mobile Lab, WBUR’s Executive Director of Programming & Podcasts Iris Adler, Vox’s Visuals Editor Kainaz Amaria and Quartz’s Bot Developer & Product Manager John Keefe will share lessons from inside their news labs and what it’s like working on an innovation-focused team. In another, BBC News’ Head of Audience Engagement, Sarah Shenker will talk about what BBC learned from 12 months of trying to reach more women. Or you can join Dig Deeper Media Journalist & News Consultant Fergus Bell and Meedan’s Director of Product An Xiao Mina to discuss designing a newsroom for collaborative newsgathering success. This session is great for reporters, editors and executives working in a national or multinational newsroom wanting a fresh perspective on major partnerships and projects come together.

On Audio, Video, Photo and Immersive skills

Under the Hood: Broadcast Teams Tackling Digital Content – You’ll have the chance to sit down with Alisha Ebrahimji of WFAA-TV, who will discuss what tools can help you get the most eyeballs on your story, as well as what was unsuccessful in the past. Or maybe you’d rather join Kelly Frank and Stephanie Slagle of WBNS 10-TV and talk about how to bring a legacy TV station into the modern age. You could also hear Misty Montano and Kevin Vaughan break down 9News Denver’s “BLAME” project and why there’s still a place for longform broadcast storytelling. It’s a broadcast braintrust and there’ll be some great ideas being shared in this room.

On Career-Building

Under the Hood: Career Advice for The Rest of Us – This session is for anyone who has moved beyond the early-career stage but is not yet an executive: middle managers, people in first-time manager roles, professionals transitioning to new roles and freelancers. Our “Under the Hood” series will begin with lightning talks to introduce our experts, followed by intimate simultaneous talks in different parts of the room to dig into tough subjects. You might join Heather Bryant of Project Facet, Nasr ul Hadi of the International Center for Journalists and Stefanie Murray of the Center for Cooperative Media to talk about how to manage collaborative partnerships in one area, or go across the room to join Versha Sharma to commiserate about millennials managing millennials. Emma Carew Grovum of The Daily Beast and P. Kim Bui of NowThis will be sharing the lessons they’ve learned in management. Finally, you can join Brittany Hite of The Wall Street Journal, plus Linda Shockley of the Dow Jones News Fund to brainstorm how to find top talent from diverse backgrounds.

Laura handles ONA's public communications. She is also a journalist, photographer and copyeditor and prides herself on her ability to perform nearly any task in a newsroom. She lives in Los Angeles.