Staff picks: Jen Mizgata on audience engagement + events

Conference time! As always, we’ll bring together lots of smart and talented people working on incredible projects. There are a number of can’t-miss sessions for me this year, including the obvious: a great selection of keynotes that range from insights from Facebook’s Product Director Fidji Simo on how news organizations can work with the platform, an important talk about inclusivity in newsrooms (thrilled to have Jose Antonio Vargas returning to our conference stage!), and an inside look at the rise and unknown future for, an innovative and inspiring approach to breaking news. If you’re looking for me next week, I guarantee you can find me in the front row for all of those.

But don’t let the keynotes be the only sessions you make it to next week. I know there are happy hours calling your name, but the most inspiring part of our conferences is hearing from journalists doing excellent work. Some of the sessions I am most excited for this year deal with audience engagement. I LOVE to think about how news organizations can find meaningful ways to reach people with news they care about, and this selection of sessions gives you a well-rounded look at innovative practices to take back to your newsroom.

<3 My can’t-miss sessions: <3

Two bonus sessions that don’t deal exclusively with audience engagement and events but are of interest to everyone since they feature incredibly smart people on important topics: Rethinking ‘Diversity’: How to Cover Race & Inclusion (learn who is getting it right and how you can be sure your outlet does, too) and Fail Fest 2016: I Failed, It Sucked, But Here’s How I Bounced Back (hear from top-level editors about the times their projects really didn’t work).

These are just some of the sessions that will help you find ways to better connect to your audience. I’m super-stoked this year that ONA is using Hearken to help us get feedback from our community in advance of the conference. If you have a question for a speaker, click through the session title from the ONA16 schedule to send it in advance.