The first step is to get with your Co-Organizer and lay out what you’re trying to accomplish with your ONA Local group.
The way we like to do this has three steps:
- Find the pain points: Think about problems you’ve identified in your community. For example, many communities don’t have access to regular skills training nearby. In other communities, there isn’t a venue for digital staffers to meet and compare notes on what’s working for them.
- Turn that into a vision: How should things be instead? Take your pain point and turn it upside down. Maybe your vision is: “There are two opportunities each year for journalists here to get training in a digital reporting skill” or “Digital strategy is taken seriously in newsrooms in my region” or “My city is known as a world-class hub for journalism innovation.”
- Brainstorm ideas on how to achieve that vision: Think about what in-person and online forums you can create that will help your community start to work towards that mission. For example, for the training vision above, they could be a data journalism training, a mobile reporting toolkit training, a tutorial on getting started with VR/360 or a coding boot camp. Brainstorm as many ideas as you can, then check out some of the events other ONA Local groups have done for inspiration.
- Turn some of the ideas you’re most excited about into a calendar. Determine how often you want to meet in the next year and get target dates on the calendar now. Groups must meet at least twice per year in order to be considered “active.” However, most communities need to host 6-10 events per year to build momentum. Groups that have a consistent event schedule and share the schedule with their members in advance grow the fastest, as people can more quickly determine what the group is about (its purpose) and tell — and bring! — their friends.