ONA offers hundreds of speaking, volunteer and fellowship opportunities for our annual conference. Most opportunities come with complimentary badges, which can help defray the cost of attending ONA19.

Below, we’ve listed descriptions and deadlines associated with each opportunity.

Looking to connect with our amazing innovators in digital media? We also provide a number of compelling sponsorship opportunities, or can craft something to your needs. Please reach out to Head of Partnerships Jessica Strelitz at jessica@journalists.org.

Last-Minute Opportunities

If you’re planning to attend ONA19, there are some opportunities to be included as a presenter closer to the event. Please note registration is not included with these opportunities.


Tell us what we’ve missed! These open sessions are a chance for you to propose conversations on topics we may not have covered elsewhere. Be ready to submit your ideas in August, and conference attendees will vote on their favorite topics right through the start of ONA19. The unconference is open to all ONA19 attendees. You can search for "unconference" on last year's schedule page to see what sessions were accepted.

Pitch Now

Lightning Talks

Bring your most innovative ideas to ONA19! We’ll host a series of rapid-fire lightning talks on Saturday, Sept. 14. All conference attendees are welcome to apply. Submissions will open in the summer. You can listen to ONA18's session and also see the selected speakers here to get an idea of what pitches prove successful.

Pitch Now

Here are some additional opportunities to get involved (registration not included):


Whether you're looking to introduce your new product to thousands of innovators or join some of the most elite organizations in digital media in supporting ONA, we have sponsorship opportunities at a variety of levels. Contact Jessica Strelitz, jessica@journalists.org, (571) 212-1363.

Learn more

Closed Opportunities

Presenting at ONA19

Our Suggestion Box offers an opportunity to pitch ideas to be included in ONA19 sessions. Each year, we look for inspiring thoughts, proven best practices and expert training on emerging tech and tools in digital journalism. Learn about our process, or read other frequently asked questions.

The Suggestion Box closed on March 22.


We offer more than 100 volunteer positions to help make ONA19 a warm and welcoming environment before, during and a bit after the conference. Volunteers work alongside the best minds in digital journalism, and revel in the satisfaction of pulling off one of the premier events in the field. Opportunities include general volunteers, as well as more technical positions for social, video and audio coverage.

While we review each application based on its strength, ONA prioritizes freelance and local news volunteer applicants.

We will let volunteer applicants know of their status – whether they are accepted or not – before early bird registration ends so that applicants who are not selected are able to take advantage of our lowest registration pricing. Read our volunteer FAQ for more, including about the available opportunities.

Volunteers applications closed April 25.

Learn more

Online Journalism Awards

Want to have your incredible work showcased at our annual Online Journalism Awards ceremony and banquet? Our awards honor excellence in digital journalism around the world, and represent a wide range of nonprofit, public, academic, major media, independent and emerging technology organizations.

Learn more


The Midway is our place to showcase emerging tech that elevates digital news. We will feature a variety of companies with interactive tools that help journalists tell stories in unique ways, reach a larger audience or better track their reach.

Learn more

Student Newsroom and Innovation Lab

The Student Newsroom is one of the most exciting opportunities at ONA19, immersing undergraduate and graduate students in a digital media environment by providing a hands-on reporting experience throughout the three days of the conference. In total, 20 students and 17 professional mentors will be selected to participate in the Newsroom.

Applications for students and mentors applications are closed.

MJ Bear Fellowship

The MJ Bear Fellowship program recognizes innovative, early-career digital journalists, working independently or for a company or organization. Among many other perks, the fellowship includes a speaking opportunity and support for registration, travel and accommodations for ONA19. Take a look at our 2018 MJ Bear Fellows to get a sense of the what our current fellows are working on. Applications closed July 11.

Learn more

HBCU Fellowship

Five students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) receive hands-on experience during ONA19 as part of the HBCU Digital Media Fellowship. The students create multimedia packages, as well as participate in mentorship focused on emerging technologies, tools and approaches to reporting and distributing news online. Applications closed July 8.

Learn more

ONA/Google News Initiative Local Community Leader Scholarship

With generous support from the Google News Initiative, we’re recognizing a diverse group of 13 people who are creating the environment for positive change in local news communities beyond their own newsrooms. Selected scholarship recipients will receive an expenses-paid trip to ONA19, where they’ll participate in community leadership training at the ONA Local Summit and have full access to the networking and learning from ONA’s annual conference. Applications closed July 8.

Learn more