Phillip Smith

Coffee-fueled session picks for @ONAConf: I'll show you mine... #ona11

It’s been five years since I attended the Online News Association annual conference in Toronto. It was a great event, but I never made it back. So, I’m kinda’ excited to be heading to Boston next week for ONA 11.

Instead of my usual last-minute ad-hoc session selection, classically done during the first session of the conference, I thought I’d grab a cup of the good stuff and get ahead of the curve.

Here are my picks, minus the keynotes, lunches, and whatnot:

Thursday, September 22 (pre-conference day)

  1. Obviously, I’m a bit partial to the super-awesome all-day Hacks/Hackers Hacking @ ONA11 event, because I’m helping to organize it. Why don’t you come and build something too? :)

  2. If I wasn’t helping with the hack day, I’d most certainly check out News Entrepreneuring 3.0 with Jan Schaffer, Scott Rosenberg, and many other news start-up celebs.

Friday, September 23 (the main show)

  1. You Can’t Duck the Math: Entrepreneurial Journalism with folks from UMass Amherst and CUNY journalism programs.

  2. New Platforms for Long-Form Journalism with Nieman Journalism Lab, The Atavist, and Longreads.

  3. The Brand Is Dead; Long Live the Brand! with Meghan Garber and Matt Thompson.

  4. Making It Work with a Small Staff with the folks from Technically Philly (who put on BarCamp News Innovation) and Oakland Local.

Saturday, September 24

  1. Google News and Newsrooms with folks from, well, Google. Interested to get the inside scoop on getting inside Google News.

  2. SMO Is the New SEO with folks from Yahoo! and Mashable. Kinda’ unsure about this one… might check out the unconference session instead.

  3. Last but not least, you’ll find me at the Media, Freedom, and the Web: Lunch with the Knight Foundation and Mozilla lunch session with Jose Zamora and Dan Sinker (and you should be too!).

After lunch, I’ll need to run to the airport to catch a flight to Berlin for the first Knight-Mozilla “Hacktoberfest” – a week-long building and making sprint with twenty of the #MozNewsLab graduates, and representatives from each of our news partners, Al Jazeera English, BBC,, Guardian UK, and Zeit Online.

If I were sticking around, I’d probably check out:

  1. One Size Fits All: Responsive Web Design because I’m working on a responsive project for The Tyee right now.

  2. ‘If I Were in Charge, I’d _____’ because I’d love to hear more about what these folks would change.

I think you should be able to see my picks here. If you’re going to ONA 11 too, I’d be interested to see what sessions you’re excited to attend. Drop your link in the comments whydontcha’?


Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.