ONA23 sessions to polish your newsletter strategy, engage your readers and grow your email audience

The newsletter industry is going through a transition, and ONA is here to help journalists through it all. We’ve hosted a series of meetups for newsletter professionals this year, and we’re excited to continue the conversation at the 2023 Online News Association Conference (#ONA23), happening Aug. 23-26 in Philadelphia and Sept. 28-29 online.

These sessions at ONA23: Philadelphia are designed to help newsletter professionals expand their audience, improve their email strategy and connect with readers. Whether you’re thinking about launching a newsletter, are new to the format or are a seasoned email professional, these sessions will send you home inspired and ready to innovate.

Beyond The Newsletter Boom: Robust Strategies For Genuine Engagement (Friday, Aug. 25)

Speakers: Judith Langowski, Newsletter Editor, Reuters; Elana Zak, Director of Newsletter Strategy, The Washington Post; and Najja Parker, Newsletter Coach, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Moderator: Kim Bode, Head of Audience Product Strategy, Newspack at Automattic

This session will discuss cultivating loyalty and sustainable growth with your newsletters. What makes newsletters successful? How do you achieve and optimize reach? And what technology and metrics should journalists be looking at when developing newsletter products? Our all-star lineup will address these questions and more.

Countering News Avoidance: Drawing Audiences Back To Our Journalism (Thursday, Aug. 24)

Speakers: Kirsten Eddy, Research Associate, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, and Rubina Madan Fillion, Director of Strategy, Opinion, The New York Times

If you’re interested in using newsletters to grow your newsroom’s audience, this session will draw from a Reuters Digital News Report showing a worldwide “tune out” of the news and will discuss actionable product, content and audience strategies. Speakers will each give a lightning talk on connecting to the news habits of younger audiences and creating a product framework that meets users’ needs.

Tiny, Scrappy And Hungry: How Small Newsrooms Can Launch Products On A Shoestring (Saturday, Aug. 26)

Speakers: Kyle Plantz, Senior Program Manager, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, and Helen Thompson, Multimedia Editor, Science News

Are you in a smaller organization that needs to launch a product…like a newsletter? Learn how using product thinking, finding newsroom allies and doing bite-size experiments can help even the smallest newsrooms launch products. This session will highlight how some small media outlets have successfully (and unsuccessfully) launched different products, what they learned and how you can do it, too.

Breaking Boundaries: Collaborative Solutions-Mapping For New Storytelling Possibilities (Saturday, Aug. 26)

Speakers: Elizabeth Flynn, Senior Visual Designer, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Zeynep Günbay, Senior Product Designer, The Philadelphia Inquirer

To learn about visually engaging formats for digital news delivery (like in your newsletter!), join this collaborative solutions-gathering workshop. Attendees will identify and break down barriers to creating and using new and different formats and will leave with a completed solutions-mapping worksheet, along with a resource for future reference.

Meetup: Newsletter Innovation & The Changing Landscape (Friday, August 25)

Speakers: Dariela Sosa, Founder, Arepita/10min, and Xian Chiang-Waren, Newsletter Writer, THE CITY. Moderator: Megan Griffith-Greene, Service Journalism Editor, The Washington Post

If newsletters are part of your work, join us for this session where you’ll hear about the landscape for newsletters and journalism! First, hear our panelists discuss their noteworthy email work. Then, we’ll move into the standard Table Talk format where you can talk to other attendees about ideas and best practices. Since this is at the end of the conference day, you might even find someone to set up dinner plans with! Thank you to Letterhead for their support of this meetup.

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