Announcements: Challenge Fund, Women’s Leadership Accelerator, and more

Greetings from ONA17, the Online News Association conference in Washington, D.C.

We’re delighted to share two announcements from this morning’s opening session:

10 projects win Challenge Fund grants

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education. Each project will receive $35,000 to support local news experiments. The fund supports universities to partner with news organizations and explore new ways of providing information to their local communities. For 2018, the Scripps Howard Foundation joins as the sixth partner to the Fund managed by ONA, in addition to the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation.

Women’s Leadership Accelerator returns to Los Angeles

We’re thrilled to share that ONA’s Women’s Leadership Accelerator will be held Feb. 25- March 2, 2018 at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The program is aimed squarely at developing strong leadership skills for women working in digital journalism. In 2018, the program will again accept 25 promising women leaders who are pushing innovation in their organization. Applications for the 2018 Accelerator will open this winter.

For more updates from ONA17, check out We’ll be livestreaming keynote conversations and many other sessions so you can tune in from wherever you may be. We’ll also be recording video and audio that will be available after the conference. Check out our handy guide of how to follow ONA17 from afar.

Jennifer Mizgata is a program director with over 12 years of experience creating industry-changing training programs, investing in award-winning projects, and managing key relationships with journalism partners and tech stakeholders. As Director of Programs at the Online News Association, she leads many of ONA’s flagship diversity, leadership and grant programs, including the Women’s Leadership Accelerator, an intensive program aimed squarely at advancing women in digital journalism. A digital strategist dedicated to public service, Jennifer has spent her career building communities online and offline. Before joining ONA, she served as the first social media lead in the U.S. for the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations agency fighting hunger worldwide. A writer, editor and photographer, she has both led editorial coverage and done freelance work for a range of outlets.