Adam Nekola’s can’t-miss speakers at ONA22

Adam Nekola is building the product practice at Digiday as the Senior Manager, Development and Technology. He has previously contributed to ONA’s annual conference as a volunteer, consultant and ONA staff member.

The ONA community is truly a beautiful thing. In this organization’s 23-year history, one fact has always rung true — the people are what make all the experiences great.

This year’s conference will mark 10 years of involvement for myself. In that time I’ve had the honor of listening to plenty of impactful speakers and meeting even more brilliant minds. This year’s speaker lineup has an amazing mix of experts I know well and others from which I’m excited to hear. Here are some highlights:

Anna Massoglia 🔗

I first discovered Anna in 2015 while working at FiscalNote, a DC-based tech startup. We were very interested in political data and I was leading a data journalism initiative. Her organization, OpenSecrets, held a treasure trove of information about political donations and Anna was using it for her own reporting. This data is so powerful that every local journalist should know how to use it and Anna is a clear expert in the field.   

Wednesday, Sept 21, 2:30 p,m. — How To Use Open Source Intelligence Tools To Uncover Dark Money

Tran Ha 🔗

If you’re new to ONA, you may not have heard about the Women’s Leadership Accelerator (#ONAWLA) yet. Those who’ve participated credit it as being a life-changing experience, pointing to the relationships they make and the powerful curriculum. Well at ONA22, you’ll get to hear from Tran Ha — one of the architects of ONA’s WLA program. As a cis-male who wouldn’t be eligible to join the signature program, I intend to be one of the first in line to hear from Tran. She’s an absolute expert at design thinking and digital strategy. I’m confident everyone could benefit from her advice. Brilliant bonus: She will be joined by Ashley Alvarado and Ariel Zirulnick.

Thursday, Sept 22, 11:30 a.m. — Design Thinking Your Editorial Strategy

Taylor Lorenz 🔗

I can’t remember when I first started following Taylor, but long enough to know about all the crazy sh*t she’s dealt with in her career. Taylor’s deep understanding of social media often pushed limits and definitely pushed buttons as she covered the tech industry and pulled the curtain on social media itself. She’s been targeted and harassed more times than anyone could count, so hearing her perspective on the ONA22 stage will be invaluable. She’s joined by another journalism star Hannah Wise on a panel moderated by the electrifying Imaeyen Ibanga

Thursday, Sept 22, 2:30 p.m. — What News Orgs Are Getting Wrong About Social Media

Andrew Losowsky 🔗

There are definitely many speakers that fall into the “wonderful human beings” category, but I really want to highlight Andrew. He has always had such a passionate and empathetic way of approaching product development. One conversation with him, and you’ll feel inspired to tackle any idea you’ve been considering. He’s presenting with Aparna Mukherjee, who I can also say is wonderful.

Thursday, Sept 22, 4:00 p.m. — No More Scrolling Alone: Retooling for Humanness

Phoebe Gavin 🔗

I took note of Phoebe just over a year ago when she wrote an “exit interview” column for Source that really resonated with the community. Her willingness to call out our “volatile industry, so prone to abusing its workers” has me so curious about how real her session will be. One of her co-presenters is John Davidow, who I know also has some great thoughts on management and leadership.

Friday, Sept 23, 2:30 p.m. — How To Hire and Team Build in a Post-Pandemic World

P. Kim Bui 🔗

Another speaker in the “wonderful human” category, Kim has been an ONA staple for so many years. Her love for the organization just pours out of her, along with her admirable spirit. Her presentations have always been very practical, giving audiences ideas and tools to take home. She’s presenting with Chris Amico, who is long overdue for his return to the ONA stage.

Saturday, Sept 24, 11:30 a.m. — Let’s Make a Plan: Creating Templates and Plans for Recurring News

Paul Cheung 🔗

There are few people who have as broad of an understanding of the journalism industry as Paul does. After years of driving key initiatives at the Knight Foundation, he’s now leading The Center for Public Integrity. He’s seen successes and failures at organizations of all types, so I’m very keen to hear his thoughts on newsroom management. He’s co-presenting with Sisi Wei, who has also positioned herself quite well as a leadership expert.

Saturday, Sept 24, 11:30 a.m. — Building the Newsroom Management Framework of the Future, Right Now

Aaron Rupar 🔗

You might know Aaron from his Twitter account that kept a very watchful eye on the Trump administration and offered his own brand of commentary in the process. You might even be one of his 774,000 Twitter followers. Well, he’s left Vox and is producing his own work on Substack now, and the SnapStream team will be bringing him to ONA22 to share how he’s used their tool to help grow his following.

Saturday, Sept 24, 2:30 p.m. — Clips or It Didn’t Happen — Delivering the News with Viral Video

Other notable speakers