ONA Local groups are how we help journalists around the world access the skillbuilding and camaraderie that they find at our conferences closer to home.
Organizers are a vital part of making this network happen. They have their fingers on the pulse of their digital journalism community and act as the conduit for the community to the wider ONA network.
What makes a healthy ONA Local community
We don’t care if your community is 12 or 12,000 people strong — our framework for community strategy is built on these four components of a healthy community:
- A common purpose: We all need to know why we’re here
- Diversity: Different perspectives at the table
- Rules of conduct: Members need to know how they are expected to behave in this community — and how others will behave.
- A forum for interaction and feedback: There needs to be a way for people to get to know each other
You’ll see each of these principles woven throughout the toolkit. We’ll cover the basics on setting up your group (incorporating purpose, diversity and rules of conduct), then how to create stellar events for your community (the forum).
I feel like a go-to voice in St. Louis for digital media, trends and having connections to a bunch of people I otherwise would hardly know, or only know digitally. At my place of work, I think my role in co-creating and co-organizing the group is viewed as a boon to the organization and shows our commitment to local journalism and collaboration with other media outlets.
Kelly Moffitt, ONA St. Louis co-founder
How we define leadership
There are a lot of definitions of leadership out there, and we like to use this one when referencing the ONA Local Organizer program:
“Leadership is accepting responsibility to create conditions that enable others to achieve shared purpose in the face of uncertainty.” — Marshall Ganz, Leading Change: Leadership, Organization, and Social Movements (2010)
Ganz is a public policy lecturer at Harvard who studies and teaches on community change and social movements. I love this definition, because it tells us it’s important to have leaders who create the environment for people to make change happen. You’re already doing it, just by accepting the responsibility to create this environment for changemakers in your community to work together.
We’ll be working with this definition a lot throughout your time as an ONA Local Organizer. If you also love it, the introduction section in the paper where it came from has some more to say on when this type of leadership is particularly important and how it comes about, which reads like it was written just about the journalism field at this moment.