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Online News Association key training points

ONA 2010 was, again, a sold-out success. The selection of topics reflected contemporary issues and the panelists were uniformly well prepared. Here are insights that will find a way into my training sessions.

Social Media

  • Social Media is a tool for distribution. SM also is the 21st Century police scanner and an unending source of stories. SM is also a great way to find sources and gather information. Perhaps most importantly is that SM is a direct way to engage the community.
  • The Social Media Manager is an important new and valuable role in news organizations. Monitor what other organizations are doing with Social Media. Best Practices are rapidly evolving. Users are starting to follow trusted streams and not publications.
  • Start using Facebook "Like." You will increase traffic.
  • User comments aren't "free." Managing comments is ongoing work. Best practices are evolving. Don't give up. Get better. Develop a "Real Name" commenting community and reward commenters with more privileges. Don't abandon the story—respond to comments. Mediation works better than moderation.
  • The NYTimes/East Village blog has a goal of 50% user developed content and is planning to support that goal with community training.


  • Mobile. If you haven't already started, don't get further behind. 40% of NPR page views come from mobile apps.
  • IP to cars. Many ways for news orgs to serve the audience.
  • IPTV. Finally, our stories in the living room. Start building skill sets.
  • QR Codes. Learn how to use them.


  • The award winning stories use multiple media and have multiple layers of storytelling. Content curation is an important tool in online storytelling.
  • Major stories need landing pages and long-term stories need topic pages.
  • Know how to design for both audience and platform. The iPad is not the same user experience as a "big iPhone."
  • Jonathan Harris is an amazing storyteller (and very cool). If you don't know his work: you'll love the creativity and top-notch execution at his site.


  • Successful news organizations will have multiple revenue streams. Advertising will not be the only revenue source for many.
  • Developing your brand and building brand loyalty is necessary to survive.
  • If you are #17 in something, you don't have the right plan and/or the right people.
  • Analytics are only valuable if you act on the information.
  • Partnerships are increasingly important across all journalism organizations. Find new ways to serve the community through partnerships and collaborations.
  • Readers are increasingly time constrained. Make utility a core strategy.

These are just some of my picks. Here's a collection of ONA 2010 summary reports.

Help wanted

No one even thought about forbidding anyone from California from attending the rally. So I *did* miss a few sessions.

Please help me out and tell me what else from ONA KDMC should build into our upcoming workshops. If you have a link to a good ONA summary, please add it in the comments.