Pitch by Jeremy Sherlick.

Have you seen the new interactive long form narratives like Snowfall, The Prophets of Oak Ridge, and Firestorm? So did we! And they are a lot like the ground breaking interactive multimedia productions we pioneered as part of our Emmy-Award winning series, Crisis Guides. And now we’ve spent the last year building an interactive template creation platform to enable us to produce multimedia-rich long-form stories about the world. Come take a look at how it works, our first big project (www.cfr.org/chinasea) and help us brainstorm the next phase of development.

We are not what you might think. We work for one of the oldest foreign policy think tanks in the world. But we’ve also won countless multimedia storytelling awards and plan to keep innovating in the storytelling space.

Pitch by Jessica Estepa.

ONA is great for producers, videographers, social media editors. It’s also good for reporters, but let’s be real — we are rare birds at this conference every year. Let’s chat about what we do, the challenges we face and how we make reporting in a digital age better.

Jessica Estepa is a reporter with E&E Publishing in Washington, D.C., where she covers oceans, fisheries, endangered species and invasive species for the online publications E&E Daily, Greenwire and E&ENews PM. She also happens to be the unconference chair, but don’t worry — she’ll make sure voting is still fair.

Pitch by Kelsey Proud.

Do you work in public media? Let’s hang out and talk about our niche of journalism.

Kelsey Proud does online production and social media at St. Louis Public Radio.

Save People, Not Journalism

Pitch by Larry Dailey

Many organizations are focused on saving journalistic institutions. 

In the process, people are getting lost. If we want to make engaging experiences for people, then we have to “get to know” those people. 

Journalist traditionally, well, suck at this.

But game designers and Silicon Valley organizations are really good at knowing their audiences and building stuff that engages those audiences.

This session will discuss how game and Silicon Valley methods might help tomorrow’s journalists better understand their bosses — the people.

If we do it right, it will be fun!

Larry Dailey is the Donald W. Reynolds chair of media technologies at the University of Nevada, Reno. There he teaches courses in human centered media and game design for journalists.

He was a member of MSNBC.com’s founding multimedia team. Prior to that, he was a picture editor for the AP and for UPI in Washington.

Pitch by Greg Linch 

A 30-min or 1 hour roundtable discussion of participants’ passions outside of journalism that inform how they think or do their work.

As a youngster, Greg Linch wanted to be a scientist and inventor. Then, as a teenager, he turned his eye toward writing and later reporting. Somewhere along the way those interests blended and he now works on data and technology projects for The Washington Post’s local desk.

Using his knowledge of journalism and code, Greg collaborates with reporters, editors, designers and developers on a wide array of topics. Crime, transportation, education, government — you name it. 


Pitch by Eric Ulken of the Seattle Times.

This unconference centers around a one-hour roundtable for product managers in news organizations and those interested in the discipline. In this roundtable we will:

— Discuss the evolving role of product management in the newsroom.
— Trade insights on business trends.
— Commiserate about having to work with journalists who can’t do math. (Kidding!)
— Share advice for any numerate news nerds considering a move to the product world.
— Recount war stories and product #fails.

Hi. My name is Eric, and I’m a product manager. This year, after 15+ years in digital journalism, I went over to the ‘dark side’. I left news to join the business side of my organization with the belief that I could do more good for the institution as a product manager than as a journalist. I’ve learned a lot from colleagues in other organizations who’ve left newsrooms for business roles. I still feel like a fish out of water, but at least now I know I’m in good company.

Pitch by Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato

Calling all science/health/enviro journalists! Come get your science on with the philomaths of ONA. Whether you’re an environmental journo with a penchant for penguins or a space enthusiast who follows Neil deGrasse Tyson on Twitter, this unconference is for you.

Meet fellow fanatics to discuss the important questions facing our industry: Is Malcolm Gladwell a science journalist? How do I digest an academic study by deadline? What’s up with Scientific American’s bloggers? Why doesn’t ONA have more science-geekery? Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?

Bring your passion for science, polish off a few Star Trek references, and come prepared to talk nerdy to me. 

Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato is a senior editor at Everyday Health and freelances for National Geographic. She has worked for Scientific American and Climatewire and earned a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Bloudoff-Indelicato loves em dashes, ’80s music and brain parasites.


Pitch by Dan Pacheco

First there were PCs, then mobile devices. What’s next? New advances in gesture-based interfaces use YOUR BODY as the primary interface to create and explore media and journalism.

See how educators and some news organizations are using the Leap Motion to create “air-enabled” information experiences and learn about experiments at Syracuse University to use depth cameras to allow people to navigate through information using the entire body for navigation. 

Dan Pacheco is the Chair of Journalism Innovation at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication. He’s worked as a digital journalist beginning with the launch of Washingtonpost.com, a Knight News Challenge winner in 2008, and an entrepreneur.

Pitch by Jan Schaffer & Amy Eisman

Entrepreneurship courses are elbowing their way into J-School curricula. What are the basic elements of a single course or an entire degree program? What are the merits of teaching working professionals vs. undergrads – and how do you market to those professionals? What are the opportunities in the encore entrepreneur market? How are students defining “media”? What should students expect to accomplish in a course or in a degree program? Can these programs break down silos within the university and where are the fault lines?

Jan Schaffer, director of J-Lab, and Amy Eisman, director of Media Entrepreneurship, launched American University’s MA in Media Entrepreneurship degree in 2012. We lead a discussion in this unconference session and we invite ONA’s journalism educators and early adopters to share strategies and the lessons learned.

Jan Schaffer runs J-Lab, a catalyst for news ideas and an incubator for news entrepreneurs and innovators. A Pulitzer Prize winner for The Philadelphia Inquirer, she left daily journalism to lead pioneering journalism initiatives in civic journalism, interactive and participatory journalism and citizen media ventures.

Amy Eisman is director of American University’s MA in Media Entrepreneurship and of the 13-year-old weekend MA in Interactive Journalism. She was an editor with Gannett for 17 years, first as a cover story editor at USA TODAY and later as Executive Editor of USA WEEKEND.

Pitch by Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, Executive Director of the Media Consortium. 

Collaboration sounds great. But actually getting 3 or more outlets together takes knowledge and expertise—especially if the outcome is win-win.

The good news is that collaboration is a managerial technique that can be learned. In this session, you will find out what kinds of projects work best as collaborations, how to structure collaborations, and what you can expect to achieve.

The hour will feature a brief talk, followed by groupwork in which you will apply what you have just learned.

Jo Ellen Green Kaiser is the Executive Director of the Media Consortium. She has organized a number of collaborations—see www.mediaforthe99percent.com and www.whereisyourplanb.com

Jo Ellen has written on journalism collaboration for Journalism Accelerator and PBS MediaShift. She is a skilled presenter and instructor, having had experience in her former life as an English professor.