Themes to consider when pitching to ONA18

ONA’s Suggestion Box, open Feb. 28 – March 29, is your opportunity to pitch session ideas and presenters for ONA18. This post, by ONA’s Head of Programs and Events, Trevor Knoblich, is the fourth in a series we hope will be useful references if you’re considering submitting a pitch.

We’re often asked, “What are the themes of ONA18?” or “What topics do you want to see?” We’ll cover a broad range of topics over three days of wall-to-wall programming, but we do recognize that certain discussions are timely and likely will warrant specific consideration this year.

We’ll make sure the following topic areas are covered at ONA18 … and we will, of course, be including many more of your ideas, as submitted through our Suggestion Box, to ensure a well-rounded and community-driven program.

  • Business of news: Subscriptions and membership models have seen a lot of adjustments (and in many cases, growth!) in  the past couple of years; we suspect some fresh ideas and best practices for demonstrating the value of your subscription to your community exist. Let’s share what’s working!
  • Election coverage: This will be a critical, inescapable narrative in the fall. How is the journalism community combating misinformation? Are there innovative partnerships and projects to share election coverage and results? What will be the news-related impact of search engines and social media companies?
  • Getting real about human resources: Newsroom leaders are being held to account on multiple fronts: from harassment and sexual misconduct allegations, to unionization issues, to the ramifications of increasingly relying on freelance work, to better ensuring inclusive hiring and retention practices. These can be challenging conversation topics, but they’re top of mind for nearly all journalists in the U.S. right now, so we’re looking for constructive dialogue about our most important asset: you, the human!
  • Automated journalism: There have been a number of creative projects around the world lately incorporating artificial intelligence, bots, streamlined workflows and other automation tools. Given Austin is a tech hub, we anticipate our location will fuel many interesting discussions around automated tools and the data that feed them.

These are just a few examples of issues we hope to cover at ONA18, and we’ll include many more.

Feeling ready to pitch? Mark your calendar for Feb. 28, when we will open the Suggestion Box. Our previous post covered getting creative with your session formatOur next post covered what happens once you submit your pitch.

Refer to our Opportunities page if you’re interested in other ways to get involved or volunteer with the conference. For news and updates, follow us on Twitter @ONAConf or subscribe to our newsletter.