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Why I’m Going To ONA11

Later this week is the annual Online News Association Conference in Boston, which I will be attending. I’m very excited about attending my second ONA Conference, and I had an amazing experience last year.

I return this year as a volunteer to help live stream the sessions (which you can follow along on the conference website). The programming at ONA is exceptional, and I got tons of inspiration out of the sessions that I attended last year (in particular, a session about news apps).

But that’s not why I’m returning to ONA.

In online journalism, there is no better way to network than by attending the ONA conference.

I owe my job to ONA10. I met my boss there. He invited my to intern for him that following semester, which I did. He then offered me my full-time job out of the internship.

I met tons of other great people for the first time at last year’s ONA conference—people like Jay Rosen, Craig Kanalley and 10,000 Words’ own Lauren Rabaino.

So my advice to those attending ONA11: Meet as many people as you can. Always have your business cards handy. You’ll meet people outside of formal networking events: In hallways, elevators, and yes, the parties.

Success in online journalism is not possible without knowing people. Whether it’s people who offer you a new job, or people to form content partnerships with, it’s hard to get anywhere by going it alone.

So if you’re going to the ONA conference, especially for the first time, keep that in mind. And, if you run into Lauren or me, be sure to say hello!

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