Highlights from the 2011 Online News Association conference

If there was a theme at this year’s Online News Association conference it was that we are no longer talking about the future of journalism because the future of journalism is here. Some of the more specific themes and catchphrases that seemed to resonate and get repeated throughout included “brands are dead,” “SMO is the new SEO,” “The 2-screen experience has arrived,” and “Users rule the web.”

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Brands are dead. This session and message seemed to resonate with many at the conference. Here are the slides from the presentation so you can decide for yourself what you think.
  • SMO is the new SEO. Mashable’s Meghan Peters mentioned a number of tools that they use to track social metrics, including Page Lever, Woopra and Klout: here is a good collection of those tools: http://bitly.com/prRjOG. And here is speaker Kim Bui’s pinboard of social media links.
  • Users rule the web. Ben Huh, a journalism graduate and CEO of the I Can Has Cheezburger? network of sites, emphasized in his keynote that publishers need to embrace users. He pointed out that users create more content in one day than professional media creates in an entire year, and that the work of any individual journalist will never be seen by as many people as this photo of bacon taped to a cat.
  • 2nd Screen is the future of TV. 85M Americans use Web & TV simultaneously. When planning 2nd screen features, remember to seed events well into the future and that people will also be looking at the features after the event.
  • What the kids think. One session gathered students and bloggers together to share their ideas for the future of journalism. They included: have more fun with games; focus more on mobile and on video; don’t be afraid to fail, fail often and fail fast. Craig Kanalley from The Huffington Post has a good summary here. 
  • Games are a great tool for news organizations. The panel on Gamification game a number of impressive examples, including this one from USA Today.
  • Google Maps for Journalists: Jesse Friedman’s presentation on Google Maps for journalists can be found here.
  • The latest Tech Trends. Amy Webb discussed the top 10 tech trends she sees, ranging from social proximity networks to facial recognition. The slides from the full presentation are here.  Here is a summary from one of the attendees as well.
  • Useful Twitter tools for Journalists. Twitter’s Erica Anderson offered these tips and links.

Here are some of the best summaries others have published from the conference:

Do you have more suggestions of coverage or presentations to add to this list? Please post in the comments below!