The Online News Association is a nonprofit membership organization for digital journalists, connecting journalism, technology and innovation. 

Hello! We're so excited to hear your idea! A few notes before you get started.

This concept is about bold ideas, and it’s for fun. This is not about having a super polished business plan or pitch deck, and funders are not looking to fund projects. Judges will, however, offer their seasoned perspective on your idea with genuine enthusiasm and an eye toward making it the best product possible.

The deadline is Thursday, August 2 at midnight ET.

Entry rules:

  • Pitching is open to registered attendees (or those who plan to register); unfortunately, we cannot offer travel, lodging, a conference badge or other support.
  • We are looking for products, but we are defining that term broadly; anything from a tech tool to a podcast to a newsletter to an event series is fine with us.
  • This is for non-existent products only; this is not the place for you to talk about your startup. 
  • You'll need to be present the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 13 and the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 14 for feedback workshops (you'll have plenty of down time, don't worry).
  • You must be prepared to present for presentations on Friday, Sept. 15, from 5p - 6p. We'll provide a laptop, screen and projector for you.
  • The presentation is held in a public conference setting, and may be recorded or have a live stream (we'll let you know specifics in advance). In other words, if you're worried about someone stealing your idea, this is not the competition for you.


Additional tips:

  • We’re creating a safe zone for blue sky thinking; dream big.
  • Pitching a product is like anything else: a story sells it. Your final pitch should have a narrative. What problem exists? How are you planning to solve it? What impact will that have?


How we'll use your data:

All submitter names, emails, Twitter handles, titles, organization details and photos will be visible to ONA staff and up to four judges to assist in the selection process. They will not be shared to vendors or any other outside parties. 

Emails are collected to contact you in the event you are accepted as a finalist.

Names, titles, organization details, Twitter handles and photos will only be made public if you are selected as a finalist, and you confirm your ability to participate. In other words, we'll check with you before posting to our website.


Happy pitching!

The unconference is an opportunity for those attending ONA18, Sept. 13-15 in Austin, Texas, to add conversations you feel are important to the official schedule.

The process will work as follows:

  1. Registered ONA18 attendees can pitch ideas through until Thursday, Sept. 6 at midnight ET.
  2. ONA18 attendees will vote on Thursday and Friday of the conference for topics they feel should be added to the schedule.
  3. Successful submitters will present on Saturday; please note you must be in attendance Saturday at 4p to lead your session.


While there are no restrictions on unconference topics, other than keeping topics informative and professional. We do limit the number of presenters to 3 people.

Here are a couple of additional tips:

  • Keep your topic forward-thinking and solutions-oriented.
  • ONA is all about collaboration and diversity; find others with interesting backgrounds and ideas to join your pitch.
  • Feel free to be creative in your session format; people may be feeling panel fatigue by Saturday afternoon.
  • Remind the audience why they should care! What will they take away?


Finally, please note that your name, bio, session title, description and photos or other materials will be posted to our website once we have several entries, so don't include anything you'll regret.

Your email address is kept private and is used to inform attendees whether or not their pitch is accepted. 

If you have any questions, please contact learning@journalists.org.

Lightning Talks are an opportunity for those attending ONA18, Sept. 13-15 in Austin, Texas, to give a fun, rapid-paced talk (5 minutes or less) on a topic related to this year's theme.

Theme: What will your community / audience / readers want from you in 10 years' time?

The process will work as follows:
 

  1. Registered ONA18 attendees can pitch ideas through until Thursday, Sept. 6 at midnight ET.
  2. A conference volunteer will read through pitches. Those not related to our theme, or are otherwise inappropriate, will NOT be ineligible to continue in the process.
  3. For all other pitches, ONA18 attendees will vote on Thursday and Friday of the conference for topics they feel should be added to the schedule.
  4. Successful submitters will present on Saturday; please note you must be in attendance Saturday at 4p to lead your session. 

 
Here are a couple of additional tips:
 

  • You are capped at two presenters maximum; one is recommended. If you do have two, remember that ONA is all about collaboration and diversity; find others with interesting backgrounds and ideas to join your pitch.
  • Keep your topic forward-thinking and solutions-oriented.
  • Remind the audience why they should care! What will make your presentation stand out?

 

Finally, please note that your name, bio, talk title, description and photos or other materials will be posted to our website once we have several entries, so don't include anything you'll regret.
 

Your email address is kept private and is used to inform you whether or not your pitch is accepted.
If you have any questions, please contact learning@journalists.org.

Online News Association