Online News Association national conference should come to Philadelphia: here are 10 reasons why

I have been blessed to attend the last two national Online News Association conferences, one in D.C. and last year’s in Boston.

This year, the celebrated, 13-year-old organization will host its annual event of more than 5,000 members in San Franciso to offer some geographical balance to the affair. There is some call for a Midwest event in 2013, which might make sense, but whether it’s next year or in 2014, the conference, expo and meeting of the minds of news innovation should happen in Philadelphia.

Updated: Apparently Philadelphia is booked for 2014. So, uh, 2015?

I’m part of a small group in Philadelphia lobbying for the effort, which includes a formal application process, and that application is being submitted. Still, I felt it worth sharing what appears to me to be the clear reasons why this would be an easy decision.

Here are 10 reasons:

  1. ONA has never had a national convention in Philadelphia, even though the national student and black journalist society’s have convened here.
  2. Philadelphia is actually a city people will want to visit, having one of the most walkable downtowns, a vibrant restaurant community, history, culture, music, neighborhoods and impact. Oh, and it’s cheaper than all those other big cities.
  3. It has a major convention center, in addition to several major hotels, like the Center City Marriot, both of which can handle an even larger conference space.(And hey, the notoriously overpriced Convention Center has cut a major part of its labor costs recently.)
  4. Supportive major media, including representatives of (and a need for new newspaper ownership to be close to anything innovative), TV representatives from NBC 10, staff from public media WHYY and the country’s largest entertainment company Comcast.
  5. Supportive institutions, like the William Penn Foundation, major journalism program Temple University, and their new spinoffs the Center for Public Interest Journalism and PPIINN.
  6. Vibrant independent media, both in print, online, in communities and otherwise. see
  7. Active, growing technology and innovation community, which has impact and interest in media, see and the local Hacks/Hackers community.
  8. ONA leadership has relationships here, in addition to’s Wendy Warren, the founding CEO of the new PPIINN initiative Neil Budde is a former ONA board member.
  9. It’s near a lot of people and members, considering that Philadelphia is within a train or bus ride of the densest hub of markets in the country, where a good chunk of ONA members are.
  10. Active local ONA chapter, though it was revived relatively recently, see here for membership.

2 thoughts on “Online News Association national conference should come to Philadelphia: here are 10 reasons why”

  1. “…even though the student and black journalist societies have convened here…”

    Think you left one organization out. It held its national convention here two weeks after NABJ did.

    –Sandy Smith, Member, Philly Chapter NLGJA

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