All of the things for ONA16

Most of you are on your way, and some of you are already here! Welcome to Denver! Here are some final reminders and tips to get you situated at ONA16.

Weather + what to wear:  Bring comfortable shoes for walking the Exhibit and Midway floors, fancy ones for the OJAs, receptions and parties, and sneakers for walking, biking and running, if you’re so inclined.

Warm days in the 70s and cool nights in the 50s (and high 40s) require a wardrobe that includes jackets, jeans, sweaters and pants, as well as lighter pieces for getting outside during the sunny days. Most events and sessions are casual, but we love it when people get glammed up for the the OJA awards banquet on Saturday.  Also, meeting space is always fairly cold so stuff something into your ONA attendee bag to warm you up during sessions.

2015-12-10 07.56.46An artsy hotel: The Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center is full of local artwork, including a striking set of climbers headed up the soaring wall in the main lobby.  If you’re headed to your room alone and hear the sounds of the ocean or children laughing, don’t freak out. It’s just part of the moving art found in each guest elevator. The front desk has details on of the hundreds of pieces and designs in the hotel.
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In the know: Parties, receptions + networking at ONA16

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Connect with your audience by creating compelling digital experiences, delivered on seven different viewing experiences, ultimately distancing yourself from competition. Introducing Brightspot TV: your over-the-top video channel, published like any other content type, from one unified platform. Learn more at The Midway.
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Cheap eats around and at ONA16


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Tea on the street in downtown Denver.

Narrowing cheap — and delicious — food options in Denver down to 10 (or so) suggestions is much harder than expected.  The city has a booming, diverse food scene that reflects a steady influx of new residents. A few notes for your week of eating:
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Connect with recruiters at ONA16

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As “The Voice of the Rocky Mountain Empire,” The Denver Post is Colorado’s leading source for news and information. With the largest news-gathering team in the state, our journalists examine important issues, using every platform available to deliver those stories to our audience. Created by The Denver Post, AdTaxi drives revenue for media groups and advertisers through comprehensive digital solutions.

NBC Universal,  Tegna, The Denver Post, Cox Media GroupScripps and NPR are among the dozens of exhibitors and sponsors bringing job opportunities directly to digital journalists at ONA16. 

These recruiters are looking for multi-platform storytellers, web developers, content creators and editors, community managers, data journalists, social media experts and digital content leaders. Click on the company names above for links to their career pages to review jobs in advance of the conference, and here’s a complete list of sponsoring groups.

There are several ways to connect with these companies on site in Denver during the conference.
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Staying healthy at a mile high

Denver is an active city with a lot of choices for outdoor recreation — we’ve detailed eight great opportunities here. It is also located one mile above sea level, and the air is thinner and likely much, much dryer than where you live.

The first thing Denverites tell you: Drink water. All the time. You may think you’ll get along just fine drinking when you’re thirsty, but listen. Please drink more water. Your body will thank you in the morning.

And ONA will work to make this as easy as possible. Water stations will be set up across the conference, and thanks to sponsor Viafoura, there will be fruit-infused water bottles in the hydration lounge if you want a spark in your H2O. See them in the Centennial Foyer, outside of the keynote ballrooms.

Other ways to stay active at ONA16:
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Serious and playful eats in Denver

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Help make journalism stronger. Innovate on your terms. Start thinking now about applying for an RJI Fellowship (applications open after Thanksgiving). See RJI Executive Director Randy Picht in the RJI Midway booth from 1-2 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 15 – or any of the RJI team 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.


Those visiting Denver for the first time might not place it in the same class of previous ONA host cities (Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, oh my!), but it only takes a short stay to realize that the Mile High City is maturing into a true metropolis. What better way to explore a city that is “having its moment” than with a fork in your hand?

Right Next Door…

Conference goers would be remiss not to take the elevator to the Hyatt’s 27th floor, where sweeping views of downtown and the Rocky Mountains greet you at Peak’s Lounge. The high-altitude cocktail lounge serves classic drinks made with local liquor, like an Old Fashioned made with Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, or a Rocky Mountain Mule — a Moscow Mule made with Wilderness Trail Distillery vodka.

Just across the street, Stout Street Social serves up seafood, sushi and savory bar food in a hip, sports-bar-esque setting. Take advantage of $4 glasses of wine and $2 off sushi orders during happy hour.
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Getting to, in and around Denver

So you’re at the Denver airport, looking for cheapest, quickest way to get downtown from the airport. RTD — Denver’s new rail and bus service — runs near our conference venue, the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center.

Once there, you’re in luck. The Hyatt Regency is in a prime location, nearby the 16th Street Mall, within easy walking distance. Or, for a more authentic experience, grab the free trolley that travels up and down the avenue all day.

Some outside receptions and restaurants may require a quick ride.  Cabs are plentiful, and several ride sharing companies operate in the city, including Uber and Lyft.
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Free access to thousands of stories, audio, scripts and images

As journalists learning to make payroll, it’s possible there are some mistakes we haven’t made en route to reaching 50 million people per week, but there’s time. We may fall down a few more times as we imagine surviving the next recession — but we’ve made it through three so far and we’re still standing!

You may or may not be familiar with Public News Service’s 36 state-based outlets, such as the California News Services, New York News Connection, Northern Rockies News Service, Texas News Service, etc.

Though we’ve supported scores of journalists across the country in the 20 years since we launched, we may not be well known for a few reasons. Despite the “selfie” world we live in, self-promotion doesn’t come easy for many journalists. We also haven’t had the resources to market our own brand. We may fall down a few more times, but we’ve made it through three recessions so far.

So how can we be helpful to the field?

We’ve developed about five different funding streams — all of which have pitfalls — and each tax structure comes with different “delights” (because why should Oprah have all the naming fun). We’ve learned that media literacy is a constant in almost all funding conversations, that ethical dilemmas are ever-present, and the lure of the next shiny thing can be our biggest downfall.

Still, and, truly, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit,” as President Harry Truman said.

Collaborators, welcome. Researchers, let’s chat. We play well with others. The thousands of newsrooms who find our public interest content useful (about 8,000 at last count) typically don’t have the resources to go after these stories themselves, but we make it easier — and possible even — for many journalists to include voices and perspectives that make for more inclusive and richer public conversations.

We’re interested in highlighting what brings value to our national debate, and supports democracy. This is no time to tolerate the narrative that people of good will aren’t capable of solving monstrous challenges.

And you …

This is your invitation to use our dedicated news distribution platform to access thousands of stories, audio, broadcast scripts and images, without cost.

You’re welcome to edit and use any of our content as you see fit. Mash it up.

Attribution is always welcome, but not required. We’re funded by grants, gifts, memberships, our social mission contributor SoundBite Services and our 501(c)(3) partner Media in the Public Interest.


And, we’re excited to share that, at the time of this writing, we’re the “preferred journalism project” on Kickstarter. Please consider giving our first-ever crowfunding campaign some love, and help us produce more news you can use.

If you’re already using content from our public website, it’s only podcasts and text. Please sign up for our journalists-only platform.

There are between eight and 10 elements per story when you access our site designed for journalists. Plus, we provide a six minute daily national news podcast. Here’s how to sign up: Go to and click on “Media Outlets – Sign Up Here.”

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When you do, below is what you’ll see — this is sample content from our Pennsylvania site. We’re here to be useful, and want to connect. If you have any questions, please call 303-448-9105 or e-mail,

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Step right up to the greatest show in Denver!

By now, you know ONA16 is going to be amazing. The speakers! The receptions! The beautiful Mile-High City! But you may not know about the super attraction taking place inside the one of the main conference ballrooms: the Midway.


Credit: YouTube user “aleks dude”

While having a fishbowl ring toss might be challenging in the midst of a sea of electrical plugs, you will have the opportunity to check out and play with some amazing new technology at booths small and big: sensors and 360 video! A 21st century climate almanac! Virtual reality! Livestreaming!

Plus there’s the Bullring, the stage area in the Midway with its own programming. Here, you’ll see presentations about new digital platform experiences! Creating professional video broadcasts with just a phone! Making beautiful story layouts without coding! Changing the culture in the newsroom! And so much more.

Trying to figure out the tools and products to take your work to the next level? This is the place to really explore what companies and organizations have to offer, ranging all the way from tiny start-ups unveiling their products at ONA16 to the huge players out of Silicon Valley.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting the Midway program. Take a look at the Midway program from ONA15 to get a sense of how many inspiring and wonderful things we’ll be hosting in this year’s space.  As you plan your three days in Denver, you’re definitely going to want to plan several visits here.

Hanaa Rifaey is the Producer of the ONA16 Midway. You can send her questions — or inquire about the final few open spaces — here.

Saving money on getting to Denver this fall

If you plan to fly to Denver (Denver International Airport — DEN — is the main airport), United Airlines is once again offering ONA16 attendees discounts of up to 10 percent off fares on any flights booked with travel dates between Sept. 11-20, 2016.

To activate the savings, go to, choose your flight times and insert the code ZWTG715435 in the Offer Code box. If you prefer to book with a travel agent or on the phone,  we have all the details.

Travelers shouldn’t have any issues finding a flight to DEN. American, Delta, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest and many other airlines also service the airport, which is the sixth busiest in the United States.

Once you have arrived, the cheapest way to get from DIA to the ONA host hotel and all other downtown locations is using RTD, Denver’s rail and bus service. You can use its site to plan your trip. A one-way journey takes approximately one hour and costs $9.

Traveling by car, depending on the time of day, gets you downtown in 35 minutes to an hour. Details on all hotel transit options are here.

If you see fare sales to Denver, please tag them on social media with #ona16. We will do the same @onaconf.

UnitedLogoONA would like to thank United Airlines for its generous support of ONA16.