ONA offers hundreds of speaking, volunteer and scholarship opportunities for our annual conference. Most opportunities come with complimentary registration, which can help defray the cost of attending ONA20 Everywhere.

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: jessica@journalists.org.


We plan to offer a multitude of volunteer positions to help make ONA20 Everywhere a warm and welcoming environment. 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.

We are evaluating volunteer needs and opportunities to pull off a fully virtual conference. Please subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on Twitter or join our ONA20 Facebook group to get the latest updates.

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

We will let all volunteer applicants know of their status – whether they are accepted or not – before registration ends so that applicants who are not selected are able to register if they still want to participate.

Applications for all volunteer opportunities will open summer 2020.

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Present at ONA20

New this year! We’ll make a few calls for very specific needs over the summer for opportunities to present at ONA20. Please subscribe to the conference newsletter, follow us on Twitter, or join our conference Facebook group for updates.

Earlier this year, we offered the opportunity to pitch ideas through our Suggestion Box. This public call is an opportunity to hear ideas for inspiring talks, proven best practices and expert training on emerging tech and tools in digital journalism. The Suggestion Box is now closed.

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Additional Scholarship Opportunities

ONA anticipates offering additional scholarship opportunities for ONA20 Everywhere. We will list these opportunities here as soon as details are confirmed.

Midway and Sponsors

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.

Other Opportunities

Here are a few additional opportunities to be aware of. We’ll update this as more become available.

Online Journalism Awards

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.

Entries are now open, and we will celebrate the winners this fall. Please note: our awards ceremony may or may not be attached to ONA20 Everywhere this year. We are evaluating the best options for our finalists and winners to get recognition for their work.

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Opportunities from Past Conferences

With the many challenges of shifting from an in-person event to a virtual conference, ONA unfortunately is unable to offer these opportunities for ONA20 Everywhere. We want to thank sponsors, long-standing program volunteers and consultants, the family of MJ Bear and others who have supported our decision to place these programs on hiatus for 2020. We are exploring opportunities for expanding conference scholarships this year, and plan to re-introduce the opportunities below for ONA21. 

Student Newsroom and Innovation Lab

The Student Newsroom immerses undergraduate and graduate students in a digital media environment by providing a hands-on reporting experience throughout the four days of the conference. In total, 20 students and 17 professional mentors are selected to participate in the Newsroom.

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 the annual conference. Check out the amazing work of our 2019 MJ Bear Fellows to get a sense of the types of people and projects honored by this fellowship.