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Oct. 16, 2013, 10:20 a.m.
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ONA in the ATL: A few sessions to watch at the Online News Association’s annual conference

More than 1,400 journalists, publishers, academics, and more are descending on Atlanta this week to talk shop.

We’re heading off later today to balmy (but wet — pack an umbrella!) Atlanta for the Online News Association’s annual conference. Come say hello if you see Josh, Justin, or me wandering the halls.

Keynotes, of course, include The Guardian’s U.S. editor-in-chief Janine Gibson on journalism in the age of the surveillance state, Nate Silver on Nate Silver, and Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow on what journalists can learn from Destiny’s Child.

But there’s lots more to see and do, so we thought we’d provide a highly incomplete list of the panels, workshops and talks we’re most interested in. There’s lots more to explore than you’ll see here, but consider this a starting point.

Thursday

  1. Thursday, 2:45: We like to talk about evolving story templates online. If you want in on the conversation, join the INN’s Adam Schweigert and Skift’s engagement manager Jessica Plautz as they lead a workshop on open-source story templates that are both beautiful and useable for all.
  2. Thursday, 4:15: Recent Nieman-Berkman Fellow and Homicide Watch founder Laura Amico just announced the launch of new project Learning Lab, but at ONA she’ll be discussing another pet ideaJazz & Journalism. Amico addresses the question of disruption through a musical analogy.
  3. Thursday, 7:00: Of course, we hope to see you at the official ONA opening reception at the Tabernacle, where we’ll be more than happy to join you in a drink.

Friday

  1. Friday, 10:30: The guys over at Vox just raised $34 million to strengthen and expand their media properties. Friday morning, chief product officer Trei Brundrett and vice president for technology Pablo Mercado will be joined by Quartz senior editor (and ex-Nieman Labber) Zach Seward to talk about experimental narrative formats.
  2. Friday, 11:45: Our own Justin Ellis will co-host a session on newsroom business models with MailChimp’s senior scientist John Foreman. They’ll combine the science of big data and alternative revenue streams to offer practical advice that goes beyond the silver bullet.
  3. Friday, 4:15: At least a couple hackles are sure to raise when BuzzFeed’s executive sales director David Spiegel is joined by SmartBrief’s Joe Webster to discuss sponsored content and the future of digital advertising. They promise to share their ethical guidelines along with tips for “producing advertorials for 21st Century advertising.”
  4. Also, Friday, 4:15: If that sounds too contentious for you, try instead this panel on creating a better mobile experience. Led by Knight Lab chief Miranda Mulligan, Vox chief product officer Trei Brundrett, NPR’s Elise Hu, and our own Joshua Benton, the focus will be on blending business and storytelling via responsive design. They promise “plenty of time for questions.”

Saturday

  1. Saturday, 11:30: Start your Saturday off with a Shorenstein Center demonstration on expanding access to academic research for journalists, and how journalists can deepen their work via data sets created by the academic world.
  2. Saturday, 11:45: The Texas Tribune has received lots of attention for its ability to rake in the big bucks via events. Join the Tribune’s editor Emily Ramshaw and executive director of the Vermont Digger Anne Galloway for a workshop on funding nonprofit journalism, where they’ll help journalists think about events, fundraising pitches, and other diversified funding streams.
  3. Saturday, 2:45: Last week, Brian Abelson wrote an essay on Derrida, apocalyptic narratives, web analytics, and the fabled but never proven death of the pageview. Saturday, Abelson will delve deeper into the topic. In his own words, “Come learn how to fight the pageview zombies.” (Semi-related: A panel on newsroom analytics will take place Thursday at 11:45 a.m. and feature, among others, The New York Times director of news analytics and Google’s head of media outreach.)
  4. PeggyPitchOh-Whiskers

  5. Also Saturday, 2:45: Sensor journalism! We wrote about panelist John Keefe’s experiments with sensors and cicadas for WNYC; he’ll be joined by Julie Steele of O’Reilly Media’s Data Sensing Lab, Kipp Bradford of kippkitts, and Fergus Pitt, a research fellow at the Tow Center. They’ll get you up to date on telling stories with self-gathered observational data sets.

Also, throughout the weekend, there’ll be a series of workshops on using WordPress in the newsroom, from the basics to building news apps on the platform. A bevy of talented (and patient) newsroom developers — including Yuri Victor, Greg Linch, Chris Amico, and Stephanie Yiu — will be leading workshops like “Building Apps in WordPress,” “Using WordPress to Structure your Beat,” “Adopting WordPress in the Newsroom,” and more.

See you in Atlanta!

POSTED     Oct. 16, 2013, 10:20 a.m.
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