Not @ ONA: View From Outside The Bunker

I spent this weekend at home after three years running of covering ONA, primarily for personal reasons but also because, even though I knew I would enjoy the social aspects and would find aspects worth writing about, when push came to shove the program wasn’t compelling enough for me to invest more than $1,000. I feel Rafat ‘s pain about a program loaded with basics — although I see a reason for including much of that in a beginner’s track — and he makes some excellent points. Founded primarily by people who had the task of creating and fostering online journalism within mainstream media companies, ONA has always been weighted heavily in that direction. When they get together much of the conversation is about innovation but it’s also about grappling with significant problems and issues. Angst is part of the package for many in today’s newsrooms. I truly wish he’d had a chance to get a sense of the passion. No, there’s not the same kind of fervid energy we encounter at some of the tech conferences but ONA exists because a group of people had — and have — enough passion about online journalism to go beyond the boundaries.
But the current iteration of ONA isn’t for Rafat or for many working outside newsrooms or in non-traditional enivronments.