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News 'The best experience I’ve had in college'

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UD students attend ONA convention, meet up with alumni at National Press Club
UD students at ONA

​More than three dozen students, alumni, family and staff gathered at the National Press Club to share tales of career, campus and convention. Photo/Karen Gibson, mother of alum Sarah Gibson, far left

Nearly 20 students, faculty and staff from The Journalism Program immersed themselves in digital journalism at the Online News Association's annual convention in Washington, D.C.

Then it got even better by having a shindig with alumni at the National Press Club. 

The ONA convention, Oct. 5-7, brought more than 3,000 journalists from around the world to learn about technology, share advice and dive deep into issues of ethics, multimedia storytelling and reporting innovations. The result? Check out some of the tweets (#UDatONA):

  • Review Editor in Chief Ken Chang: "Why use Facebook Live? To extend your reach, engage a core audience, and because it's a 'gateway drug,' says @brodiefenlon."
  • Review Executive Editor Mike Henretty: "Getting a lot of great insight as to how to start automating easy tasks around the @udreview newsroom."
  • Even @UDJournalism chimed in: "Journalists 'uniquely positioned to...think like a futurist.' To help, @amywebb opensourced her tools & IP:"
What they took away

Some had more to say about the ONA conference than tweets allow (which prompted Review Senior Reporter Lisa Ryan to tweet "I thought 250 characters was a bad idea until I got to #ONA17 ... #livetweets #UDatONA").

STN 49 President Stacy Rahaka Mahiga wrote in a follow-up note: "If I could use one word to sum up my ONA experience, it would be: 'necessary'. I needed this conference to gain a better understanding of the future of journalism, but I also needed it to realize that my goals are very much attainable. I feel 10 times more confident about pursuing this industry than I did before Thursday, and I really do owe it to the conference. I met so many like-minded people at ONA from all over the world, and I cannot wait to see what doors and relationships this experience will open."

Review assistant sports editor Brandon Holveck said that "ONA was an eye-opening experience which exposed me to both the immense potential journalists have to change lives by informing and in some cases entertaining the public and the immense responsibility journalists hold in maintaining the integrity of our democracy. My biggest takeaway is to listen. Listen to people of different backgrounds in the community to find out what their true concerns are, listen to people when they are protesting to find out not just how they're protesting, but why they're protesting and listen to other people in your newsroom so you can find the best ways to collaborate."

Bridget Dolan, a copy editor for The Review who also attended a pre-convention seminar at American University for ONA student attendees, said the convention helped her realize that "journalism is so much broader than I ever imagined." Graduate school is now a strong possibility, she said. 

Hannah Trader, a sports broadcaster at WVUD and a senior sports reporter at The Review, called going to ONA "without a doubt the best experience I’ve had in college. Honestly, ask my friends and family. I couldn’t shut up about it for a good 24 hours ... I learned so much about social media, different careers and areas of journalism that I never knew about, the legal side of news, and SO much more. Amy Webb was by far my favorite speaker. A quantitative futurist??? I didn’t even know that career existed, but it’s by far one of the coolest jobs I’ve ever heard of, maybe the actual coolest."

And Review Senior Reporter Grace McKenna wants to hold a few fundraisers to start paying the bill to go ONA '18 in Austin.

About that NPC shindig ...
Alumni and students at National Press Club.

​Blue Hen journalism, at its finest, at the National Press Club.  Photo/Rich Jones

One of the students' most important resources were the D.C.-area alumni who were able to join them at a reception at the National Press Club.

Scenes from the National Press Club

​Left: Alum Raquel Morris with student Stacy Rahaka Mahiga and alum Tara Coates, T. Rowe Price. Center: Students Hannah Trader (left) and Natalie Walton. Right: Student Teddy Gelman with alums Dan Steinberg (center) and Paul Kane of the Washington Post. Photos/UD students, alumni and faculty

Scenes from the National Press Club.

​Left: Alum Nora Kelly of The Atlantic. Second from left: Student Brandon Holveck with alum Marina Koren of The Atlantic. Second from right: Alums Jackie Heinz of Politico, Paul Fain of Inside Higher Ed and Bo Bartley of The Capitol Forum. Right: Alum Sarah Gibson, grad student at American University.

Scenes from the National Press Club

​Left: Alum Ryan Barwick, Soles Fellow at the Center for Public Integrity, and students Mike Henretty, Blair Sabol and Lisa Ryan. Center: Alum Leo Shane of Military Times and student Jacob Orledge. Right: Alum Jenna Portnoy of the Washington Post; Victoria St. Martin, distinguished visiting journalist at the University of Notre Dame; and alum Rich Jones, director of the Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy at Notre Dame.


ONA resources, straight from the convention
Note-taking at ONA

Brandon Holveck, Review assistant sports editor, kept busy while Tamar Charney, NPR One managing editor, described cross-platform journalism as the best way to reach people where they are. Photo/Brandon Holveck

ONA makes available nearly all of its resources to all journalists, regardless of whether they are ONA members or attended the convention.

Want to watch the keynote by Medium CEO Ev Williams, one of the founders of Twitter?

How about the discussion on "Trust, Truth and Questions for the Media?"

Maybe you'd like to hear the interview advice from the Washington Post's David A. Fahrenthold. (You really should.)

Or hear Amy Webb's predictions for the future. (You really, really should.)

Then go to ONA's complete list of convention resources and spend the next few days tripping through a wealth of videos, audios, tipsheets and photos.

Story published on 10/6/2017 ; last modified on  
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UD students dove into digital journalism at the 2017 ONA convention, then met up with alumni at the National Press Club. One student was "so enthralled by #ONATechTrends that I left my regular coffee untouched the whole hour. #UDatONA"

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'The best experience I’ve had in college'
  • The Journalism Program
  • 221 Memorial Hall
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • 302-831-4921