Jose Antonio Vargas opens ONA12 in San Francisco


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Online News Association, the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists, announces that Jose Antonio Vargas, an award-winning multimedia journalist, will be the opening keynote at its 2012 conference in San Francisco.

Vargas will open the Online News Association Conference & Awards Banquet Friday, Sept. 21.

Born in the Philippines, Vargas immigrated to the United States at age 12. Stunning the media and political circles, Vargas wrote the essay, “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant,” for the New York Times Magazine in the summer of 2011. He is the founder of Define American, a new campaign that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration, and the author — and subject — of a June cover story in Time.

“The theme of our conference this year is Digital Storytelling,” said Jane McDonnell, ONA Executive Director, “and Jose is a journalist who is using all platforms in new ways to cover, crowd-source and interpret a crucially important debate.”

He’s been a journalist for over a decade, writing for some of the most prestigious news organizations in the country. Most recently, he was a senior contributing editor at the Huffington Post, where he launched the Technology and College sections. Prior to that, he covered tech and video game culture, HIV/AIDS, and the 2008 presidential campaign for the Washington Post, and was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for covering the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech.

His 2006 series on HIV/AIDS in Washington, D.C. inspired a feature-length documentary, “The Other City,” which he co-produced and wrote. The world premier was at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival and it aired on Showtime.

News media’s evolution, and the breakdown of barriers between print and broadcast journalism, has guided his reporting career. He’s written for daily newspapers and national magazines and has appeared on CNN, ABC News and PBS NewsHour. On HuffPost, he created the blog Technology as Anthropology, which focuses on tech’s impact on people and how we behave. He taught a class on “Storytelling 2.0” at Georgetown University and served on the advisory board for the Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism, housed at American University.

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About ONA

The Online News Association is the world’s largest association of online journalists. ONA’s mission is to inspire innovation and excellence among journalists to better serve the public. The membership includes news writers, producers, designers, editors, bloggers, technologists, photographers and others who produce news for the Internet or other digital delivery systems, as well as academic members and others interested in the development of online journalism. ONA also hosts the annual Online News Association conference and administers the Online Journalism Awards.