When I go out to an ONA conference, I enjoy some of the speculative discussions and industry review but I judge my experience on the lessons I can take back and work with.
Last year, after I left the Online News Association’s conference in Atlanta, I realized that maps were a primary lesson from the conference. My notes from those three days are full of tutorials and tips about mapping.
This year, the schedule shows significantly fewer lessons about mapping — but there are a dominant number of sessions about data visualizations. Some of those lessons are taking place on the midway, which seems to involve more scheduled events than last year. Many others take place in the ballrooms-turned-classrooms.
Ironically, big data was the subject of last year’s keynote by Nate Silver (of FiveThirtyEight fame).
While I know that we’re probably behind the cutting-edge on our ability to use and present data, I must wonder if it is as valuable to the business as it is interesting to the reporter.
Video-related sessions are also frequent, which is great because video has become a clear focus in our digital news strategies. I’m certain that these are valuable to the consumer and the business, and I wish there were more sessions on the topic.
By my quick (and totally unofficial) count, the schedule includes at least 20 scheduled events related to working with data – either about gathering or presenting with various tools. I also count at least eight scheduled events related to video.
As soon as the conference begins on Sept. 25, I’ll start posting notes here — and I hope to get a few of my Scripps co-workers to post their notes too!