Pre-Conference Workshops

Pre-Conference Workshops provide expert, hands-on multimedia training and delve into new concepts in technology and digital thinking.

Registration for Pre-Conference Workshops is separate from the full-conference (Friday-Saturday) pass. To register, visit ONAconference/register.

Fees are discounted for ONA members. ONA Membership is $75 for journalists and academics, $25 for students, and also comes with $300 off a full-conference pass. Not a member? Join now.

Thursday, Oct. 1

All-Day Sessions: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Video Production for Beginners
Instructor: Chet Rhodes, Deputy Multimedia Editor, Breaking News,
Capacity: 50 students
Fee: $100 for members; $150 for non-members

This workshop is for those new to shooting and editing video for the Web. Chet will provide hands-on training for journalists looking to learn to add video to print and online reporting. Participants must bring their own laptops. Video cameras are welcome but optional.

What you’ll learn:

  • When to use video and when not to
  • Best practices for getting great video and sound from small cameras
  • Hands-on explanations and experiences on how to use audio, video gear &endash; along with recommendations on gear
  • How to shoot and edit a short breaking-news video
  • Hands-on video production editing training on Windows Movie Maker and IMovie
  • What you need to introduce video into your website

Video Storytelling with the National Press Photographers Association
Instructor: Richard Koci Hernandez, Ford Fellow, University of California-Berkeley’s Knight Digital Media Center
Capacity: 24
Fee: $100 for members; $150 for non-members

This all-day session will cover more advanced techniques for those with experience shooting and editing their own videos. A hands-on training experience for journalists looking to expand their multimedia skills. The focus is on mixing photos, video and audio content and editing them into multimedia presentations. Students will produce their own finished project—from capturing content to editing to compressing the final files. Get inspired seeing some of the most cutting-edge multimedia projects and learn how they were produced.

What you’ll learn:

  • Effectively planning and developing your story to save time and improve the quality of your pieces
  • Professional audio recording techniques in the field
  • Hands-on training in using audio, video and photo gear — along with recommendations on gear
  • Training on shooting visuals for multimedia storytelling, including techniques for working as a one-man-band or mobile journalist
  • Hands-on video production editing training and experience on Final Cut Pro

Dynamic Interactives for Newsrooms: A Django Workshop with IRE
Instructor: Aron Pilhofer, Editor, Interactive News Technologies, New York Times
Capacity: 25
Fee: $100 for members; $150 for non-members

This workshop, hosted by Investigative Reporters and Editors, will focus on Web frameworks programming techniques for online journalists to tell stories in ways unique to the Web. The session is geared toward those who already have some advanced skills (SQL, ActionScript, Javascript, PHP, etc.) and are interested in writing database-driven applications for the Web or for their own internal intranets. Bring your own laptops.

What you’ll learn:
You’ve seen the database-driven interactives like The New York Times’ Cabinet Picker or Word Train. Now learn how they’re done at this boot camp that will take you from the basics to a fully functioning application in Django, the Web framework that drives eye-catching sites like EveryBlock and Politifact, as well as interactives on news sites like the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times. It’s a soup-to-nuts course, in which you’ll start with a blank slate and wind up with a near web-ready Django backend that can talk to a Flash interactive.

Fund My Media Start-Up
Instructor: Jan Schaffer, Executive Director, J-Lab at American University: The Institute for Interactive Journalism
Capacity: 80
Fee: $50 for members; $60 for non-members

This all-day workshop, supported by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, shows how new forms of foundation-funded or grant-funded media are emerging in the new media ecosystem — and how you can join them.

The digital streets of American are rife with journalists looking to practice their craft and their passion outside the strictures of a traditional, brand-name newsroom. Jan will lead a day of practical advice — and cautionary tales — for those thinking about striking out on their own. She’ll cover starting a site from scratch, looking for funding, making the choice about non-profit or ad-driven models and how to define success.

What you’ll learn:

  • Starting a Hyperlocal Site from Scratch: A look at how two “New Voices” $25,000 grant winners are going to make it work.
    • Oakland Local, Susan Mernit
    •, Ben Burns
  • Quitting to Launch a Statewide Non-profit Investigative Initiative With a $100,000 grant from Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation.
    •, Andy Hall, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism
  • Moving into Bigger Things
    • Expanding with Grants, Taking no Ads,, Paul Bass
    • Taking Ads, Growing your Business, Building Partnerships,, Debbie Galant
  • New Media Makers: Overview of Grant Funded News Projects
    • Jan Schaffer, J-Lab
  • Parlaying your Passion into a Business
    • Placeblogger and H2OTown Founder, Lisa Williams
  • Hitting the Million-Dollar Mark
    •, Scott Lewis
    • MinnPost.Com, Joel Kramer
  • Going Commercial
    • E&E Publishing LLC, Kevin Braun, Editor in Chief

Afternoon Sessions: 1-4 p.m.

Retrain Your Brainstorm: An Afternoon with IDEO
Instructors: IDEO staff
Capacity: 40 participants
Fee: $50 for members; $60 for non-members

Learn the unique steps in IDEO’s brainstorming and innovation process, training yourself to break out of conference room meetings and understand what true product innovation means.

True innovation in today’s business climate isn’t just the result of happenstance — it requires a determined and dedicated approach to finding opportunities. IDEO, the San Francisco global design consultancy, is a pioneer in using a human-centered, design-based approach to help organizations find, test and own growth opportunities. Members of the IDEO team will provide a hands-on session describing their approach to audience research and brainstorming.

An IDEO designer will immerse the participants in an interactive session using the different steps in IDEO’s design-based innovation process, including:

  • Bringing the Outside In: IDEO will leverage previously conducted interviews in which teams go into the field to meet a range of real people in context – including “extreme” consumers – to spark new and unexpected insights.
  • Identifying opportunity areas and brainstorming solutions: Using the inspiration from IDEO’s observations and other sources, we discuss synthesized findings and translate them into brainstorm topics. IDEO will then describe the “rules of brainstorming” and spend time generating ideas, asking participants to think outside of their current media platforms.
  • Creating idealized future scenarios: Participants will come up with tangible, rough prototypes of new products, services and consumer experiences that support the greater design challenge of the day.
  • Presenting concepts for feedback: Share prototypes across groups and/or with the entire session.

The Facebook API: Tapping Into the Facebook for Distribution and Conversation
Instructor: Rob Fan, Co-Founder/CTO, Sharethrough; Ryan Romanchuk, Lead Developer, Sharethrough
Capacity: 20
Fee: $50 for members; $60 for non-members

In four short years, Facebook has gone from campus sensation to worldwide social phenomenon, a global network of friends and communities that has changed how people communicate and how media is consumed. Participants will learn first-hand how to use Facebook’s open API and Facebook Connect tools to harness the power of the network to foster community and distribution from two members of a start-up social media marketing firm in San Francisco.

To register for an ONA09 Pre-Conference Workshop, visit