The new funding from Knight will allow ONA to expand the number Local groups beyond the current 50 ONA programs around the country and provide more training opportunities for journalists. The funding announcement came this morning at the 2015 Online News Association Conference in Los Angeles. (Where you can also find most of Nieman Lab this week. Make sure to say hi.)
ONA Local is designed to continue the learning and networking that takes place on ONA conferences and offer those resources to the journalists may not have been able to attend. ONA Boston, for instance, has held trainings on using Google tools in the newsroom and discussions on diversity in local media. And, of course, the occasional happy hour.
As part of the grant, ONA Local will expand to up to 20 new communities and support existing groups in creating partnerships with other local media, academic, or tech organizations. ONA will also be bringing on a new staffer to oversee the effort. From Knight’s news release:
In the fall, the Online News Association will use Knight funding to hire a community engagement manager, who will start new groups and offer strong support for ONA Local leaders, including training, networking and annual conference attendance. In addition, a data-driven assessment and evaluation will be completed to develop a better understanding of local news needs in individual communities and improve the ONA Local program.