The opportunities below include a variety of ways to get involved with ONA21. Many include complimentary registration.

Below, we’ve listed descriptions and timelines associated with each opportunity. Jump to: Scholarships, Student Newsroom, Volunteer and additional opportunities.

Looking to connect with our amazing innovators in digital media? We also provide a number of compelling sponsorship opportunities, or can craft something to your needs. Please reach out to Chief Strategic Partnerships Officer Jessica Strelitz: jessica@journalists.org.

HBCU Digital Media Fellowship

Five students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) receive hands-on experience during ONA21 as part of the HBCU Digital Media Fellowship. The students will create a digital project during the fellowship, as well as participate in mentorship focused on emerging technologies, tools and approaches to reporting and distributing news online.

The HBCU Digital Media Fellowship is made possible through generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

This opportunity is open to our global community. Applications are open through May 6 at 11:59pm EDT (03:59am UTC).

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MJ Bear Fellowship

This one-year fellowship is designed to provide support and guidance to early-career journalists on a digital journalism project, as well as their own professional development. Fellows receive a complimentary pass to ONA21, plus a three-year ONA membership, among other benefits.

The MJ Bear Fellowship is made possible through generous contributions by the MJ Bear Estate, friends of MJ Bear and ONA, MSN International and Microsoft News.

This opportunity is open to our global community. Applications are open through May 13 at 11:59pm EDT (03:59am UTC).

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ONA, with support from our partners, is offering scholarships to ONA21 to make our conference as inclusive and accessible as possible. The following four opportunities are available, and you may apply to more than one opportunity (you will only receive one scholarship, however). ONA will notify all applicants of their status in early June.

Click on each scholarship name for information on our supporters, eligibility criteria and the application itself.

This opportunity is open to our global community. Scholarship applications open May 6 and are due by May 27 11:59pm EDT (03:59am UTC).



Student Newsroom and Innovation Lab

The Student Newsroom and Innovation Lab immerses undergraduate and graduate college students in a digital media environment by providing hands-on experience during the Online News Association conference.

This year, 10 select students will virtually produce content and tools for the ONA21 Student Newsroom website before the conference under the personal guidance of professional mentors.

This opportunity is open to our global community. Applications are open through May 13 at 11:59pm EDT (03:59am UTC).

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ONA relies on its dedicated volunteers to help make ONA21 a warm and welcoming virtual environment. Volunteers will assist in production aspects of the conference, such as editing transcriptions to make the conference more accessible. While we will review each application based on its strength, ONA prioritizes freelance and local news volunteer applicants.

Applications for all volunteer opportunities will open over the summer. In the meantime, you can fill out an interest form to be notified when volunteer opportunities will open.

This opportunity is open to our global community. 

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Here are some additional opportunities to get involved (registration not included):


Have a new product or tool to share with attendees? The Midway is our place to showcase emerging tech that elevates digital news. We are looking for a variety of companies with interactive tools that help journalists tell stories in unique ways, reach a larger audience or better track their reach. Contact midway@journalists.org or Jessica Strelitz, jessica@journalists.org, (571) 212-1363.


Whether you’re looking to introduce your new product to thousands of innovators or join some of the most elite organizations in digital media in supporting ONA, we have sponsorship opportunities at a variety of levels. Contact Jessica Strelitz, jessica@journalists.org, (571) 212-1363.

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Please note: this year, the Online Journalism Awards will not be connected to the annual conference. We will announce the finalists in late summer, and winners will be announced in a special event later in 2021.

Online Journalism Awards

Uncertain times underscore the need to highlight digital journalism’s value and impact. Showcase your work at our annual Online Journalism Awards, which honor excellence in digital journalism around the world, and represent a wide range of nonprofit, public, academic, major media, independent and emerging technology organizations.

This opportunity is open to our global community. Entries will be open May 5 – June 10.

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Previous Opportunities

The opportunities below have closed for this year. Our newsletter and conference Twitter account are the best place to find out when they open again for ONA22.

Present at ONA21

Earlier in the year, we offered the opportunity to pitch ideas through our Suggestion Box. Each year, we offer this public call as an opportunity to hear inspiring thoughts, proven best practices and expert training on emerging tech and tools in digital journalism. The Suggestion Box is now closed!

This opportunity was open to our global community. 

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