Student Newsroom and Innovation Lab

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

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

As part of the application, students were asked what they would like to implement as part of their role in the Student Newsroom and Innovation Lab. This innovation could include unexpected story ideas, creative storytelling techniques, new tools built by participants themselves or something else we haven’t considered yet – these are ideas that live at the intersection of content and product. Applications for students closed on May 13.

The ONA21 Student Newsroom and Innovation Lab is generously sponsored by Microsoft, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and News Break.

Take a look at the great work that has been produced by our Student Newsroom in the past.

Note: For this year’s ONA21 virtual conference, we will not be opening applications for new mentors. Please check back for ONA22 if you’re interested in being a mentor for this program.

About the opportunity

Ten undergraduate and graduate students with a demonstrated interest in digital journalism have the opportunity to participate in this immersive learning environment. Ahead of the conference, students will produce content and/or create new products using a variety of digital storytelling tools while learning from experienced mentors in the field.

Students will also get the chance to attend conference programming led by experts in digital journalism, network with attendees and acquire new digital media skills. All registration fees are paid.

The Job

  • Learning from the best and brightest mentors in the industry.
  • Producing content and/or building tools for ONA21 Student Newsroom website.
  • Attending meetings and working assigned shifts ahead of the conference, beginning with an orientation on June 19, through Tuesday, June 22. You will then be free to attend and enjoy the programming from June 22 through June 25.

The Requirements

  • In the Spring semester of 2021, students must be a sophomore, junior, senior or graduate student enrolled full-time at a college or university — anywhere in the world.
  • Must be at least 18 years of age at the time of application.
  • Must be able to participate during the entire program dates: June 19-June 25.
  • Students do not need a background in programming, but those with technical skills are encouraged to apply.

The Perks

  • Complimentary ONA21 Conference Registration.

The Application

  • Any questions, email
  • All application materials must have been submitted by May 13, at 11:59 p.m. PST.
  • There will be a waiting list for qualified students not accepted.