ONA12 conference: I’ll be at the board candidate session, impact measurement talk and karaoke!

It’s almost time for the Online News Association 2012 conference, yay!

As I mentioned before, I’m running for the ONA board (read more about all of the candidates). All of the candidates will discuss their visions for the organization and answer questions at Decision 2013: The Lightning Round session. If we’ve never met before, please say hi at the conference. I’d also be glad to answer any questions about my thoughts for ONA — ask away in the comments below!

Also, Wendy Levy (@twendywendy) and I will be discussing how we can better measure the impact of journalism on Friday at 11:30 a.m. Here’s the session description:

Measuring your audience is one thing. Measuring your impact as a journalist is definitely another. Modern technology enables better quantitative and analytical tools, conceivably offering better ways to evaluate the results of journalism. But it’s possible to devise a way to more concretely — albeit still imperfectly — define what impact means. We could borrow from, use, adapt or learn from science, baseball, non-profits, social entrepreneurship, even car manufacturer websites and pharmaceutical drug trials.

I have a few more interesting examples, so be sure to join us for this conversation!

Some background on the discussions so far:

Finally — and perhaps the most important part of all this! — is that karaoke is returning this year! RSVP here.

P.S. What must I do/see in San Francisco after the conference? I’ll be around on Sunday and Monday before going to Seattle for a couple days and then Portland. Recommendations for those cities are also welcome!

I’m running for the Online News Association board of directors!

Update: I won a board seat! Read the announcement of the winners. Congrats to the others! 

(Here’s the announcement of this year’s candidates slate.)

The Online News Association board application asked for my vision. Here it is!

The web succeeds because it is distributed and networked. To continue our improvement as an organization, we must take cues from that dynamic. Like the web, we need to see ourselves more as a platform than a mere organization. What can we enable and facilitate? The local meetup groups and conference hallways are prime examples of how we already do this well — and there’s much more potential to harness the talents and expertise of our members.

We need to not only improve the tools we use to do better journalism, but also be the ones creating tools. The storytelling and business potential is limited only by our imaginations and technical capabilities. This also makes us more proactive in leading change, not simply reactive and bound to the tools available.

Journalism is inherently interdisciplinary — and it should be even more so. There’s great value in learning lessons from other journalists, but there is much more to be learned from other fields. A possible first step in this direction would be to partner with niche journalism organizations (SABEW, SEJ, etc.) and then explore relationships with other professional organizations or academic institutions to learn about other fields (tech, science, digital humanities, etc) .

Specific ideas:

  • Expanded member base: More non-journalist/associate members and conference/meetup attendees (math and stats, data science, architecture, psychology, sociology, anthropology, biology, industrial design, etc). For example, the NICAR12 conference offered a day’s worth of events related to text analysis, featuring — among other things — a computational linguist and a workshop on Natural Language Toolkit.
  • Better discovery: Who else in ONA should I know? Who should I meet at the conference who I don’t know I should meet? We could ask members to submit three interests along with their registration and then facilitate introductions.
  • Unconferences: We should explore hosting smaller, focused discussion-based sessions along with the unconference sessions we offer at the annual conference. Also, we could consider a full-fledged unconference track.
  • Partner with other journalism organizations such as Hacks/Hackers and IRE/NICAR for training.
  • Directed learning and additional self-education resources: similar to what Reporter’s Lab does with tools, this could point people to online courses of interest to journalists and feature reviews, comments, etc.
  •  More local workshops and training: there seems to be a lot of demand for low-cost training, in addition to the pre-conference workshops and parachute training.
  • Mentorship program: pair students with young professionals and/or young professionals with experienced professionals.
  • Better leverage the talents of our network: At ONA11 Michelle Minkoff and Heather Billings set up shop in the hallways to help interested journalists learn some coding skills. We need more of this! Not just for coding, but in general.

Finally, if I elected, I will work to institutionalize a karaoke event at the annual conference. This is important not just for the social aspect, but could also be a fundraising event — similar to the Society for News Design’s karaoke events.


ONA12 session pitch: How can we better measure journalism?

UPDATE: The proposal has been accepted! Session page: Have an impact. Then measure it.

I’ve proposed a session for the Online News Association 2012 conference in San Francisco on:

Better ways to measure journalism

If you’re interested, please up-vote/comment soon! Voting closes Thursday, April 12.

It would begin with an overview of interesting metrics in other fields, how we can learn from those and how we can possibly apply them to journalism. After that groundwork is laid, there would be a moderated discussion among the participants of other examples and how we could best implement new metrics.

For more background on the idea, check out:

Quantifying impact: A better metric for measuring journalism

Carnival of Journalism: Responses to “How can we better measure journalism?”


ONA11: Evening events during the conference

Hey, everyone! I’m here in Boston through Sunday for this year’s Online News Association conference. I’ve compiled a list of evening events for networking, socializing, etc.:



AAJA tweetup (waitlist)
Nieman Lab happy hour


SND@ONA meetup
Karaoke (disclosure: I’m organizing)


I haven’t heard of anything planned yet for after the OJA banquet, but people always go out after

Anything I missed? Let me know in the comments!