Gear Up for #ONA15

Next week, highly engaged digital journalists will take a keen interest in a different kind of traffic than the notorious road-stoppage LA is usually known for — web traffic. The 2015 installment of the Online News Association’s annual conference, #ONA15, will start next Thursday, September 24, and everyone there will be ready to talk about the future of news.

The foot traffic will be heavy on-site as well, as the organization has already announced that the conference is sold out. With 2,000+ digital journalists, three days of panels, workshops, and sessions to choose from, some early prep work will be key to getting the most out of the show days.

In our ongoing effort to decrease the complexity that journalists are faced with everyday, the team thought we’d help out with ONA as well, by offering some tips, advice on favorite sessions, and reasons we love the show.

Tips From the Pros

We asked a few people what advice they would give to first time attendees. Their responses?

“Twitter! Go to the networking events and have fun!”

John Levitt,’s General Manager and three-time ONA attendee

“The Sponsor Lounges, Exhibit Hall and Midway are not just places for freebies — our sponsors and supporters came prepared with key tech, demos and research that you can take back to the newsroom. Lots of places to recharge your devices, grab a bite and even explore new jobs (the Career Fair is connected to the Exhibit hall too.) All on the California Level, across from the main ballrooms.”

Jess Strelitz, ONA’s Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships.  See more of Jess’s suggestions on ONA, including her panel picks on the ONA site.

Can’t Miss Sessions

Since you’re on the blog, chances are you care about understanding your audience and analytics in the newsroom. If that’s the case, here are the sessions we think you might want to prioritize. We’ll definitely be in attendance.

Meaningful Measurement: An Audience-First Approach to Data
Thursday:  11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Why we love it: Dana Chinn and the USC Media Impact Project preach the gospel of using metrics as a means to get to know your audience, not a goal in and of themselves. If you’re just starting to think about using analytics at your organization, this talk should be a great frame of reference for the rest of the conference. .

Moving the Needle: What’s Your Impact?
Thursday:  4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Why we love it: Caitlin Petre and Michael Keller have both put out great research regarding impact and how it interacts with metrics. Don’t miss the chance to connect analytics to the big picture questions: how did it make a difference with the audience?

Table Talks: Audience Engagement + Impact
Friday: 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Why we love it: You don’t come to ONA just to listen — you come to participate and interact! Two discussions you might find us sitting in on: “Creating an audience strategy for a long-term project” with Anjanette Delgado and “What relationship do you want with your audience?” with Andrew Losowsky.

A Year in Data: 2014 – 2015 Audience Trends
Saturday: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Why we love it: Because it’s a shameless plug! Members of our team will present a review the trends, shifts and actions we saw looking at data from our network of hundreds of digital media sites. Our data will look at the impact loyal readers have on a site, what makes a good digital “deadline,” the typical lifespan of an article online, and how publishers are using tags.

The Top Five Reasons We Love #ONA15

5.) Even if you can’t make it, you can follow along with the whole conference! Each session has its own hashtag, listed on the agenda. Follow our session with #ONA15data.

4.) The conference works very hard to make diversity a priority, even getting recognized this year by for the percentage of female speakers represented (52%)

3.) Karaoke

2.) In addition to the fantastic keynotes and general breadth of topics  the conference covers, ONA still leaves time for unconference sessions, lightning talks and other less structured ways to learn and engage with your fellow journalists.

1.) Seeing our clients! You’re why we do what we do, after all. Make sure to drop by our booth near the coffee bar in the California Lounge and say hi, talk to our team and grab a cup of coffee during the morning coffee breaks. We’re even giving you a chance to win a Mophie Charger by sending a postcard to a friend. Visit the booth to learn how.