The Local Independent Online News Publishers organization this week awarded $25,000 to 18 of its member newsrooms to report investigative and enterprise stories important to their communities, and to sharpen their skills for more such stories.
LION Publishers will hold a day-long summit at the Investigative Reporters & Editors conference in Orlando Friday, June 15, covering issues, opportunities, ideas and advice for local independent online news organizations and entrepreneurs who are considering starting their own local news site.
Last week’s news that The Denver Post would cut one-third of its already shrunken newsroom was a stark reminder of the plight of legacy newspapers and local accountability journalism.
Local independent online news organizations are emerging all over the country to fill the gaps, but two big questions loom: Can they implement a sustainable business model? And can small local news operations do the same kind of investigative and accountability journalism — work critical to democracy — that newspapers are abandoning?
Ten independent online news publishers from across the country have been chosen to participate in a yearlong program that will offer assistance in building advertising support for local journalism, LION Publishers announced Thursday.
LION Publishers will offer mini-grants to members to support local investigative reporting projects with the support of the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation.
LION will receive a $25,000 grant from the foundation to assist members with building capacity for accountability journalism, it was announced Friday.
A Q&A with LION member Dave Kempa, publisher of local independent online news site VOICES: River City in Sacramento.
As news organizations across the U.S. continue to experiment with altered business models and new streams of revenue, it’s become clear that building reader revenue needs to be part of nearly everyone’s strategy.
To help news publishers think through different ways they could approach building a business with their audience, the Center for Cooperative Media and LION Publishers are teaming up to host a workshop on reader revenue, set for Friday, April 6, at Montclair State University.
A Q&A with Bob Brown, publisher of The Swellesley Report in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Local independent online news publishers are reaching out to readers in the wake of Facebook's decision to "remove news from its News Feed," warning them that they might no longer see breaking news and accountability journalism on crucial matters in their community. Many are using it as an impetus to sign readers up for direct notification of local stories via email newsletter.
LION Publishers is accepting applications from members* for a new mentorship program that will help local independent online news publishers establish local advertising as a sustainable revenue source.
Over the course of the year, thanks to support from the Democracy Fund, Local Independent Online News Publishers will provide mentorship and financial support to 10 members in building a market-specific local advertising program.
As part of the pilot Revenue from Advertising Mentorship Program, participants will receive funding to partially support their planning and implementation of new revenue streams.
Depending on the need and opportunity in each community, this could include help in growing revenue from display advertising, sponsored content and newsletter advertising. Publishers relying on other revenue sources who have no current local advertising support are also eligible to apply, and the program would help them build one from scratch. LION is committed to having the participants in RAMP be diverse in race, gender, publication size, geographic location, and for-profit vs. nonprofit tax status.
Apply by February 2!
A Q&A with LION member Wendy Parker, publisher of East Cobb News in Georgia.
A Q&A with Mark Henderson, publisher of the Worcester Sun in Massachusetts.
Local independent online news publishers produced a steady stream of significant accountability journalism in 2017, from major investigations that had immediate impact on public policy, to deeply reported ongoing coverage of local government, business and public health issues.
Repealing Net Neutrality would allow giant chain media to work in concert with internet conglomerates to limit access to independent, alternative, and local news sites, according to LION Publishers.
Independent web publishers from Texas, Wisconsin and Illinois discussed the benefits of their education-based work with youth reporters — ranging from teens to graduate students — at the 2017 Local Independent Online News Publishers Conference held last month in Chicago.
See more in the LION news archive
Join LION today!
Become a member of the nation's only nation's only association dedicated to Local Independent Online News Publishers, who are successfully creating the future of reporting: locally owned and operated news outlets that directly serve their communities.
Knowledge & networking
LION Publishers share their expertise in editorial, technical, business, advertising sales, marketing and fundraising with their peers. Network with a pool of online news pioneers who are proving daily that local online news does work.
As a member of LION Publishers, you and your organization will be associated with a group of the most recognized and respected local news sites in the nation. The association works as an advocate for local independent news sites, raising our public profile and standing in the industry.
Efficiency & effectiveness
LION is dedicated to improving our members' businesses, on both the editorial and revenue side. Members share their strategies on running news operations that are growing, not shrinking.
Foster the viability and excellence of locally focused independent online news organizations and cultivate their connections to their communities through education and action.
We share a passion for quality journalism and a determination to focus our energies on the health of our online publications as businesses, whether for profit or nonprofit.
We approach our tasks with an entrepreneurial spirit and a belief that individually and collectively we are setting the pace for a new era of local news publishing.
We are dedicated to championing the local online news industry, in the firm belief that independent publishers are establishing the template for successful local digital news organizations - just as independent publishers did for print newspapers in the 19th century.
We declare the best strategy to ensure that local communities are served by quality professional reporting is the promotion and support of local independent online news publishing.
We are committed to strong local independent journalism, whether in small towns or big cities, to tell the stories that reflect their residents and build a sense of place, and to shine an informative light that allows citizens to make wise decisions. The Internet is worldwide, but every neighborhood's story is individual.
Our strategic goals
- To identify and implement successful strategies for maintaining and expanding member sustainability, readership and community impact
- To pool knowledge and resources, promote collaboration, and leverage economic opportunities as a group
- To lead technological and operational innovation to advance efficiency and quality in our industry
- To uphold high professional standards, identify best practices and support members through education, and recognize excellence in local online reporting
- To advance the case for strong local independent online journalism and represent membership interests in the public sphere
- To found and develop a stable, financially sustainable organization that serves member organizations, their staffs, local communities and the broader industry