The Midway

ONA23 Midway Programming and Start-Up Alley

The Midway — ONA’s exhibit and academic and recruiting space — has been the futures lab for journalism at ONA’s annual conference for the last decade, featuring a wide range of companies and media organizations, from established global brands to start-ups. ONA attendees come to the Midway for opportunities to learn about and try new products, to dive deeper into the tools they already use and bring back fresh ideas to amplify their news work.

The application deadline for Midway Programming and the Start-Up Alley has passed. Learn about other ways to connect with the ONA23 audience by emailing Hanaa Rifaey.

Learn More:

Midway Programming

Participants in the ONA Midway have an exclusive opportunity to formally propose programming focused on topics at the intersection of tech and media. These sessions highlight topics of importance to the ONA community and feature experts offering perspectives from both inside and outside of the global newsroom.


  • April 13: Midway Programming applications open
  • May 12: Application deadline
  • May 19: Responses to all applicants
  • June 30: Final deadline for all session information for the conference agenda
  • Aug. 24-26: Midway Programming takes place at ONA23 Philadelphia

What to Know About Participating

  • All confirmed sponsors, recruiters and exhibitors without a sponsored session/workshop opportunity as part of their ONA sponsorship, can share session ideas for Midway Programming at ONA23 in Philadelphia. Each session will be listed on the official ONA23 programming schedule and hosted in person at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. There will not be Midway Programming sessions held as part of ONA23: Onward, the companion virtual conference in September, but there are sponsored session opportunities available for that event.
  • Groups can propose sessions if they have not yet confirmed their participation in ONA23, but if selected, your group will need to have a signed agreement in place within one week of the acceptance email (by May 26) to move forward.
  • Midway Programming is structured to engage the audience. A typical one-hour session is designed with no more than 20 minutes of panel discussion, followed by 40 minutes of Q-and-A and dialogue with the audience. As the bulk of ONA23: Philadelphia will focus on interactive sessions and conversational learning, we encourage Midway Programming applicants to consider this in their submissions.
  • Each Midway session will feature at least one person from the proposing group, and may also include representatives from other groups with complimenting backgrounds. Additionally, ONA may combine multiple proposals into one session concept. If there are other groups you know will be sponsoring ONA23 (or you think we should reach out to and share information about ONA and the Midway), please include that in your proposal. You are also welcome to co-propose with another group. When moderators are necessary for the session, ONA will select one from outside of the Midway (feel free to suggest professionals who may be a good fit for this, too!).
  • If your session is accepted, all speakers will need to deliver the programming in person in Philadelphia. Midway Programming will take place from Thursday, Aug. 24 – Saturday, Aug. 26.
  • There will not be a livestream available for Midway Programming. All speakers must have a full ONA23 pass (all sponsorships include at least one pass); acceptance for this programming does not include a complimentary ONA23 conference pass.
  • ONA attendees view Midway Programming the same as all other programming at the conference. These sessions must be designed to be educational — not advertorial. This is not a sales pitch. ONA will work with each session group to refine the content as well as the title and description. ONA reserves the right to deny groups from participating in future Midway Programming should the execution of the session at ONA23 not match the previously discussed content and/or publicized description.
  • All conference sessions, including Midway Programming, must uphold and further the educational, professional development and diversity goals of ONA23. ONA is committed to being as inclusive as possible in both topics and speakers at our conferences and trainings. We view inclusiveness with a broad lens that encompasses session ideas, geography, gender, race, nationality, professional experience and newcomers to ONA’s conference.

To help you prepare your pitch, please check out the following:
Considerations for Developing Your Midway Session Proposal
Questions You Might Have

Learn more about the ONA23 Start-Up Alley

Midway schedule coming soon