We started this Online News Association group at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) to offer opportunities beyond the classroom to students from any major.

These opportunities include

  • access to professionals in journalism, public relations and other communication fields, or at companies that interest students
  • resources to learn about and explore professional equipment
  • hands-on workshops to pursue and refine skills in digital communication
  • application of this knowledge in service to campus and community organizations and
  • camaraderie of other students with similar interests.

These opportunities have manifested in myriad ways since our official commencement in late fall 2015. We have had events, “Data Playdates,” where we provided attendees with hands-on experience in finding, fact-checking and managing data for stories.

They took this knowledge from the hands of investigative journalists for print and television as well as other data experts. Adam Playford, keynote speaker at the first playdate and the then-current data director for the Tampa Bay Times, had just driven the data for an article series that won the paper and writers a Pulitzer Prize. He has since become an investigative journalist for the same paper. Alexios Mantzarlis of Poynter and the International Fact Checking Network taught attendees how to clean up data sets and prepare them for usefulness.

We provided the coverage for the American Copy Editors Society (ACES) annual conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 2017 and in Chicago, Illinois, in 2018. Members learned livestreaming, interview skills, video and audio production techniques, social media strategy and implementation, and photojournalism and then applied these skills to produce dozens of pieces of content–live interviews, edited videos, podcasts, photos and articles–in only a few days. The ONA USFSP journalists staffing these pop-up newsrooms rubbed elbows with top editors from around the nation from publications like New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed and more.

We have worked with campus groups like the dance marathon sponsors, Students Transitioning Into the Next Generation, Recognizing Alternatives for Youth (STING RAY) and the Student Environmental Awareness Society (SEAS) and campus publications like the Crow’s Nest and Connect.

Our members have published media on many platforms for many publications using the skills that they learned from us and practiced with us, and they have gone on to jobs or started their own businesses that use these skills today. We have alumni working with the Poynter Institute, the Tampa Bay Times, the Weekly Challenger, Southeastern Guide Dogs, local news stations, production companies and more.

This is our purpose. We provide members with opportunities to gain skills, to apply them and to meet professionals, leaders and innovators in their chosen fields.

Are you a current student who wants to join our ranks? Join us on PeteSync.

Are you a professional or organization who would like to work with us? Contact us.