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Why You Should Apply to the 2012 ONA Conference Student Newsroom

Applications are now being accepted for the 2012 Online News Association conference student newsroom.

The student newsroom provides college and graduate students the opportunity to attend the ONA conference, free of charge. Also included is transportation and lodging costs (compliments of Google). This year, the conference will be held in San Francisco.

In exchange, students cover the conference for its website. Coverage can mean traditional written stories, photos, video and interactives. I believe last year they even had students whose specialty was coding.

Let me speak from my personal experience as a member of the 2010 ONA conference student newsroom: If you’re a student with any interest in Web journalism, apply. If you’re a college professor, encourage your students to apply. If you’re a professional journalist reading this blog who happens to have kids in j-school, encourage them to apply.

At the 2010 conference in Washington, I met really cool, like-minded college students from around the country, some of whom I still talk to regularly today. I met some great professionals as well. I also met someone who recruited me to intern for him, an internship that turned into the job I have to this day.

Members of the student newsroom are free to enjoy portions of the conference that they’re not assigned to cover. I got to sit in on plenty of extra sessions, and just schmooze with other attendees.

It should be noted that, as part of ONA’s commitment to include more international journalists, two student newsroom slots this year are being reserved for international journalists.

And, at the end of the day, who doesn’t like a free trip to San Francisco? It’s a beautiful, and you’ll be saving tons of money, since it’s also not a particularly cheap city.

The 2012 ONA conference runs from Sept. 20 to 22 and will be held at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco.

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