10 Things We Learned at the Online News Association Conference [VIDEO]

Oct 2, 2014

The Online News Association is a membership organization for digital journalists. Their yearly conference is one of the biggest gatherings of digital minds from across the country. 

In this webinar, we shared 10 things we learned at ONA. Find the full video and a summary below. Want even more digital and social media tips? Click through our Editorial section, and don't miss daily tips from NPR's social media team in the Social Sandbox. 

Credit Original photo via Robert Scoble, Flickr, CC

There's no question that mobile is on top of journalists' and newsrooms' minds. Click through the notes on panels that talked about mobile at ONA here.  Then try this self-audit from Amy Webb's 10 Tech Trends for Journalists talk to learn more about what works on mobile and what doesn't. Pick 5 stories a day and interact with them in different scenarios and on different devices. 

Credit original photo via Jennifer Conley, Flickr, CC

It might freak some journalists out, but it is true that way more (way, way more) people use Facebook than use Twitter. There was a lot of talk about the dreaded algorithm, but finding your audience where they are was a key takeaway from ONA, and often, it is on Facebook. My concrete tip? Practice your headline writing, and learn from others' examples at media.fb.com.  Find more on the topic at ONA here and here. Thanks Rebecca Galloway from OPB for sharing this takeaway.

Credit original photo via WaywardShinobi, Flickr, CC

WBEZ's Curious City project is a prime example of this concept. They've rethought the editorial process completely, using the audience's questions to lead the way. Click through their presentation and see other "Curious Nation" examples at Michigan Public Radio, WLRN, and WYSO.

Credit original photo via KCUR

Events can be used in an editorial capacity in many ways - and yes, can even make money. We heard many examples at ONA, including 'solutions summits' from the Center of Investigative Reporting. Here are some helpful tips from The Local News Lab and from KQED, WNYC and The Arizona Republic.

Credit original photo via Egidio Maurizio, Flickr, CC

NPR's Emily Bogle shared this takeaway. "The session that I valued the most was the one that gave an overview to different programming languages. I have a photo background and now work with many coders and designers so the session was a great introduction to some of the tools they use on a daily basis." Get the notes from that session here.

Credit original photo via Scallop Holden, Flickr, CC

This takeaway came from West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Dave Mistich. "With me editing the website, doing my own reporting, and running social media, it's important to rally the troops to get them to participate." Hear more about what Dave plans to do with this takeaway in his newsroom in the webinar video below, and read the notes from the session that inspired this idea here.  

Credit original photo via Yuko Honda, Flickr, CC

WLRN's Maria Murriel said that the thing "That Blew My Mind" was that pageviews aren't always the most important metric to look at. "From the Chartbeat talk to Melody's to the 10 Metrics You Should Watch session, I heard so many people talking about analytics and metrics as more than just clicks." Listen to what Maria plans to do with this takeaway in her newsroom in the webinar video below. 

Credit original photo via The Washington Post Snapchat

Tory Starr from PRI's The World had a few things to share. "Chat apps are a huge time investment for little return right now, but their potential reach is massive." Plus one, slightly related takeaway: "Ephemeral content will become more mainstream in the next 24 months. Experiment with Snapchat or other tools like Slingshot or Cluster." Hear more from Tory in the webinar video below.

Credit original photo via Hoser Dude, Flickr, CC

How could we not include Cookie Monster? Sesame Street has done a lot of work on digital and mobile, and reaches audiences all over the world. Finding inspiration from places outside of 'traditional news' can lead to creative and different ideas. Hopefully, it will be as shareable as this ABC's song with Usher.

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A great point from KPBS' Laura Wingard.

Do you have any cool experiments happening at your station? Send them our way: coaching@npr.org.  


What We Learned at the 2014 Online News Association Conference for Public Media 10-2-14 2.01 PM from NPR Digital Services on Vimeo.


What we learned at ONA 14 from nprdigital