Alma Washington October 5, 2017

They’re the ones with the “1” button on their badge. First-time attendees at ONA,
from students still finding their way in the industry, to working professionals hoping to gain new skills, packed a first-timers session on the opening day of the annual convention.

Here’s what attendees had to say about their expectations for their first ONA Conference.

“I took a summer class and my professor mentioned [ONA] at the beginning of the summer session. [My main goal is] networking. I really want to meet people.”
– Shanda Kersey, Towson University

“Media’s such a changing, malleable beast at times, and ONA has a lot of really cool tools and tips for tackling that. A lot of the speakers and panels that I’ve read about so far on the schedule seem really innovative and a lot of people some amazing ideas, so I’m excited to learn about what other people are doing that’s working so well for them. ”
Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic

“[My goal is] to take back as much information as I can to share with our team and better our digital presence. I want to find better ways to utilize social media platforms.”
Joe Jarosz, ABC 10

“I came to ONA to broaden my experience in journalism to understand more about how media is
gathered and what emerging technologies there are that can best represent media and information. In the future I want to merge technology with news-telling and create a new experience for people. I’m hoping to meet people beyond the network of our school and understand how they were able to accomplish their goals.”
– Diandra Dwyer, UNC Chapel Hill

“I chose to come to ONA this year because my co-workers went to it last year. Once I found out more information about [ONA] I said, ‘I can’t miss it next year’, so that’s why I’m here. I just want to learn as much as I can to help me be a better journalist, to pick up skills that I may not have had before, and just to meet and network with new people.”
Najja Parker, The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

If you missed the orientation, or if you’re a seasoned ONA attendee who wants some tips, here are some pointers offered to ONA newbies:

Networking Tips
Hit those networking events!
Ask where others are going. Invite speakers and new friends to join you.

Find alone time.
Get plenty of rest. Take naps. Drink water. Take walks. This helps avoid conference burnout.

Things people like: Food. Caffeine. Beverages.
Invite others to share one or all of these!

Diverse connections foster true innovation.
Seek out people different from you in all aspects.

Ask about their passions.
Think about what you can offer them. What can you give, rather than get?

We’re all here to nerd out.
Be authentic and you’re bound to find others with similar interests.

Program Tips

Make a game plan.
What are your can’t-miss sessions?

Get there early!
Session rooms often fill up quick.

Join the social conversation.
Use session hashtags, speaker handles and #ONA17

Explore exhibits and Midway
Learn about new tools and programs – plus, get swag and free snacks!

ABC = Always Be Charging
There are charging stations around the conference floor, so take advantage .

Don’t get FOMO.
Most sessions will have social, audio or video coverage. ONA will post them all online!