ONA17 Survival Guide for attendees

ONA17 is here and there are so many things to be excited about. We’ve got a great group of speakers, more receptions and events planned than ever before and new session formats. Here are our tips on how to prep & navigate the conference.

Plan your schedule

We highly recommend downloading the conference app to build your schedule and keep track of last-minute room, program or speaker changes.

We’ve added some unconventional session formats this year, like Under the Hood or the new Midway sessions. We’re also excited about this year’s keynotes, focused on the unusual year in politics, entrepreneurship and satire.

There are more sessions at ONA17 than any single person can go to, so start checking out what you’re interested in now. The schedule is divided into eight topic tracks:

And if two sessions you’re interested in are happening at the same time, check out whether one of them is being recorded.

While you’re planning how to spend your time, it’s important to RSVP to any workshops that require one. We have three great workshops planned for hands-on learning this year that have limited capacity, so be reserve your spot before they’re full.

Travel and explore D.C.

The conference is being held at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel, located at 2660 Woodley Rd. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008. The cheapest way to get there from the Reagan National airport is on the Metro. The nearest station is the Woodley Park Metro Station, which is on the red line.

You can also see our travel page for more information about how to get around D.C. and what to explore. Resident food expert Jess Strelitz has pulled together a great guide on where to eat in D.C., and we’ve also got recommendations on where to drink from the Washington Post’s Tauhid Chappell. ONA DC leader Jess Estapa has outlined her tips for visiting the city and Lauren Katz has gathered her favorite spots near the hotel to step away from the conference and visit if you’re an introvert.

The weather is unpredictable this time of year, so check out our packing guide. Bonus: All full conference pass holders will receive free entry to the Newseum from Wednesday, Oct. 4 through Monday, Oct. 9.

Follow these social media accounts

Ideas for networking and fun

We’re holding a record number of events this year, which means more opportunities for you to connect with new people.

If you arrive early on Wednesday, head to Storyful’s session on misinformation or, if you’re a student or young journalist, check out ONAU.

Join us for the opening night reception at the Newseum and if you’re looking for friends you can work with back home, find out how to connect with your local digital journalism community during ONA17.

Here’s our guide to the parties, receptions and events happening throughout the conference. Bonus: Check out ONA Executive Director Irving Washington’s ONA17 guide for introverts if you’re trying to plan your downtime.

Find a job

One of the really special things about ONA17 is that it gathers media companies large and small from all over the world. If you’re coming to D.C. to find your next opportunity, check out this list of ONA17 partners who are hiring for interns, fellows, full- and part-time roles. If something piques your interest, we recommend reaching out in advance to schedule some time to ask questions and get acquainted with the company.

If you want to promote a job, fellowship or educational opportunity during ONA17 and are not exhibiting, contact Jessica Strelitz by noon Wednesday, Oct. 4, for details about the Big Board, ONA’s on-site job, fellowship, educational and internship listings.

Getting online 24/7

We love the internet and as always, we’re working hard to make sure we’ve got a strong connection throughout our venue by investing in a robust Wi-Fi network.

But our audience has befuddled IT support at numerous venues for its ability to blow through more data and bandwidth than those five times our size — so we ask that you only connect two devices on the conference Wi-Fi while you’re on the ONA network.

We’ll also have support available at the Wi-Fi Help Desk to troubleshoot any connection issues you may have (Wi-Fi only, not general computer issues). We thank you!

In the conference area:
Network: _ONAConf
Password: friendofthepeople

First time at an ONA conference? We have your back.

We’re so thrilled to welcome more than 1,400 first-time attendees! On Thursday, join us for breakfast and a welcome session that will help you navigate the conference. Make sure to pick up your #1 button at registration, which will give you access to these events. You can also check out these key takeaways from previous first-year attendees.

Registration and badges

Registration is located through the hotel lobby at the Convention Registration Desk. Our registration desk opens early: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Wednesday. This is your best chance to beat the lines and get your badge and conference swag. Registration opens at 7 a.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday. We’ll have your badge ready for you; no need for an Eventbrite confirmation.

Vote for ONA’s Board of Directors

Voting opens Oct. 3, for ONA’s Board of Directors slate. ONA members, you can find your voting credentials in the ONA member center. You can meet the candidates on Thursday during a special VIP meetup (with drinks!) at 3:30 p.m. in Maryland A+B. Voting closes Oct. 19.

Your privacy and safety

Want to know how we handle your data and your safety at ONA17? Check out our privacy policy.

Note: Are you a new parent? You can sign up for the private nursing room in the hotel and see what other family resources are available.

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.