ONA Philly: the revival of the Online News Association in Philadelphia

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Jim MacMillan hiding from Daniel Victor’s iPhone camera to my enjoyment at the August 2011 ONA Philly meetup at Nodding Head.

Sometimes you need that kick in the pants from an outsider.

There is a new Philadelphia chapter of the Online News Association, something of a trade organization founded in 1999 for journalism innovation that hosts a popular annual national conference I attended last year and regional events across the country. (I’ll be attending the national 2011 ONA conference, this year in Boston in October, too.)

Next ONA Philly meetup: Meet NewsWorks.com

  • 6-9pm Thurs. Sept. 15
  • WHYY, 6th St. at Race
  • Old City, Philadelphia
  • One year after launching, hear from the online news initiative from WHYY
  • Free beer, light snacks
  • Meetup.com RSVP here

But it’s not the first ONA chapter here. As recent as summer 2008, an ONA Philly chapter, led by then Inquirer online editor Chris Krewson and Philly.com editor Wendy Warren, held a big regional conference. But it was a time of heavy contraction and stress over at 400 North Broad Street. The workload wasn’t spread enough and that iteration fizzled. (Credit to Krewson and Warren for first bringing the group here — and setting up the first Facebook group.)

Fortunately a newcomer has taken up the cause and asked for me to get involved. (And has a new Facebook group up, in addition to a Twitter account to follow news.)

My friend, the young sage Daniel Victor, who took a gig at Philly.com under Warren earlier this year after the collapse at TBD, has taken up the cause. Enlisting the Technically Philly crew (hi, that’s me!) and local AP editor Amy Fiscus, Victor is bringing the show back. I’m happy he jump-started the idea, but I’m proud to have been part of bringing this back and expect to play a role for a long time in the future.

We had small 20-30 person meetups in July and August and now are moving forward. On Sept. 15, NewsWorks is hosting a show and tell on their near one-year anniversary of work from WHYY, details above at right in sidebar.

From what I know, there’s never been a national ONA conference in Philadelphia. That’s something I’d like to see changed.