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

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.

Present at ONA20

Our Suggestion Box offers an opportunity to pitch ideas to be included in ONA20 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 is open through April 23!

Learn More and Submit


We offer more than 100 volunteer positions to help make ONA20 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.

Applications for all volunteer opportunities will open in April.

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Student Newsroom and Innovation Lab

The Student Newsroom is one of the most exciting opportunities at ONA20, 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 both students and mentors open in April.

Learn More


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 ONA20. Take a look at our 2019 MJ Bear Fellows to get a sense of what our current fellows are working on.

Applications will open later this year.

Learn more

Additional Scholarship Opportunities

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

Last-Minute Opportunities

If you’re planning to attend ONA20, 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 ONA20. The unconference is open to all participants. You can search for “unconference” on last year’s schedule page to see what sessions were accepted.

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

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.

Entries will open in March, and we will celebrate the winners at the Online Journalism Awards Ceremony and Banquet on Saturday, Oct. 3, in Atlanta.

Learn More


Have a new product or tool to share with attendees? The Midway is our place to showcase emerging tech that elevates digital news. We are looking for a variety of companies with interactive tools that help journalists tell stories in unique ways, reach a larger audience or better track their reach. Contact midway@journalists.org or Jessica Strelitz, jessica@journalists.org, (571) 212-1363.


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.