#LION15

Schedule of sessions & events

Check back for schedule updates; sessions and times are subject to change.

Conference sessions will be held at Columbia College Chicago, in the Film Row Cinema and other facilities, 1104 S. Wabash, in the Loop.

See the map page for location info and a floor plan of the conference center.

Thursday, Oct. 1 »

Registration

4 — 7 p.m., Lobby

Get signed in, grab a cup of coffee and chat.

Opening reception

6 — 8:30 p.m., Lobby

Have a drink and a bite to eat, catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Mix and mingle with your fellow publishers while you enjoy a selection of beer and wine and soft drinks, along with appetizer/light dinner items.

Welcoming remarks

7 — 7:15 p.m., Lobby

Beyond buzzwords

7:15 — 8 p.m., Lobby

Over a few drinks, a group discussion of what attendees are looking to learn. Beyond repeating the usual patter about the future of news, let's dig into the challenges and rewards of running a local news operation. Let's talk startup hurdles and the paths to building a healthy business while doing great work.

Small group dinners

8:30 — 11:59 p.m., Downtown Chicago

Out and about in downtown Chicago. Hang out with old friends, and be sure to meet new ones and invite them along. But don't stay out too late. We'll get started promptly at 9 a.m. on Friday ; )

Friday, Oct. 2 »

Breakfast

8:30 — 9 a.m., Lobby

Coffee and light breakfast items. Grab a bagel and shake off the cobwebs.

Welcome

9 — 9:10 a.m., Film Row Cinema

I wish I knew: 40 ideas in 40 minutes

9:10 — 9:50 a.m., Film Row Cinema

A group discussion of lessons learned: "What I wish I knew when I launched." Attendees will share their quick tips about what's worked and what hasn't — and vote on the best suggestions. The winner will receive a $100 gift card. Come ready to run down your best revenue, reporting, engagement and tech tactics.

Lightning rounds

10 — 11:05 a.m., Film Row Cinema

Short presentations, followed by a quick Q&A session for each speaker.

Coffee break

11:05 — 11:15 a.m., Lobby

Have a cup of coffee and chat with speakers and colleagues.

The state of indie news

11:15 — 11:55 a.m., Film Row Cinema

Results of recent studies by the Pew Research Center on the state of local news.

Turning out the lights

12 p.m. — 12:45 a.m., Film Row Cinema

A trio of former LION publishers look at why they've hung up their hats, moderated by Jan Schaffer.

Lunch

12:45 — 1:50 p.m., Lobby

Catered lunch in the lobby.

Panel: Local publishers & the advertising advantage

1:50 — 2:30 p.m., Film Row Cinema

What advantages does a local independent online news publisher have in the market? What strategies work to increase revenue?

Quick talk: Michele's List: State of Local 2015

2:35 — 3:10 p.m., Film Row Cinema

Further suggestions on revenue, with a group Q&A.

Coffee break

3:10 — 3:30 p.m., Lobby

Have a cup of coffee and chat with speakers and colleagues.

Breakout: Crowdfunding for fun and profit

3:30 — 4:20 p.m., Break Out A

How-to tips on leveraging alternative sources of revenue, including crowdfunding.

Breakout: Membership & reader revenue

3:30 — 4:20 p.m., Break Out C

How LION Publishers are handling membership programs to connect with readers and build revenue.

Breakout: Management issues & self-care

3:30 — 4:20 p.m., Break Out B

Let's talk about employees — hiring, benefits. How do you take a vacation yourself? And what about deeper issues — maintaining enthusiasm, dealing with PTSD, and more.

Breakout: Covering minority & underserved communities

4:30 — 5:20 p.m., Break Out C

Experiences covering minority communities, and strategies for increased engagement.

Breakout: Advertising sales in a small organization

4:30 — 5:20 p.m., Break Out A

Tips and tactics for growing advertising revenue with a (very) small staff, including how to juggle editorial and advertising demands, and how to find, manage, pay and keep good sales reps.

Breakout: Local investigations & public-service reporting

4:30 — 5:20 p.m., Break Out B

Tips and tricks from experienced journalists on how to do great investigative reporting and grounded public-service and government reporting in a small newsroom.

Coffee break

5:20 — 5:40 p.m., Lobby

Have a cup of coffee and chat with speakers and colleagues.

Annual meeting

5:40 — 6:15 p.m., Film Row Cinema

LION's Board of Directors wil provide an update on our organization.

Reception

6 — 7:45 p.m., Lobby

Have a light bite to eat and a drink or two, on us.

Message in a bottle: A round-the-table discussion

7 — 7:30 p.m., Lobby

A spirited discussion on the state of local news — led by a panel but open to all, this open discussion during our Friday night reception will prompt some food for thought while you nosh.

Hit the town

8 — 11:59 p.m., Downtown Chicago

Out and about in downtown Chicago. Hang out with old friends, and be sure to meet new ones and invite them along. Have dinner, check out a bar, go to a blues club. But don't stay out too late. We'll get started promptly at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, with breakfast and all-important coffee available at 8:30 a.m.

Saturday, Oct. 3 »

Breakfast

8:30 — 9:30 a.m., Lobby

Coffee and light breakfast items. Grab a bagel and shake off the cobwebs.

Welcome

9:30 — 9:40 a.m., Film Row Cinema

Keynote: Eleanor Cippel

9:40 — 10:20 a.m., Film Row Cinema

Taking names and cashing checks in the local news biz.

Lightning rounds

10:30 — 11:20 a.m., Film Row Cinema

Joe Hyde will break down his newsletter program, Samantha McCann will discuss Solutions Journalism, and Teresa Schmedding will give tips on vetting social media posts in a breaking news environment.

Coffee break

11:20 — 11:35 a.m., Lobby

Have a cup of coffee and chat with speakers and colleagues.

Panel: Engagement & hyperpersonal news

11:35 a.m. — 12:10 p.m., Film Row Cinema

Expanding the possibilities of engaging with readers and communities.

Lightning rounds

12:15 — 1:05 p.m., Film Row Cinema

In a series of quick talks followed by Q&A, Tracie Powell will discuss serving minority and other under-served communities, Travis Smith will talk about the perils of adblockers, and Jay Allred will reprise his breakdown of creative approaches to revenue.

Lunch

1:05 — 2:10 p.m., Lobby

Have lunch on us, and mingle with fellow attendees, speakers and sponsor representatives.

Keynote: John Bracken of the Knight Foundation

2:10 — 2:55 p.m., Film Row Cinema

What's the latest from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, one of the biggest players in funding technology and innovation in journalism?

Coffee break

2:55 — 3:10 p.m., Lobby

Have a cup of coffee and chat with speakers and colleagues.

Breakout: Startup sitdown — I wish I knew that when...

3:10 — 4 p.m., Break Out A

For publishers new and established alike, a group conversation on what to watch out for when launching a new news website. Tech issues, revenues, editorial choices and more. Those who've been there can explain their battle scars and show off their T-shirts, and those who are just beginning to forge their sites can ask every question that's keeping them up at night.

Breakout: Events for fun & profit

3:10 — 4 p.m., Break Out C

Are events more trouble then they're worth, or can you establish your brand, perform public-service reporting, and enhance your connection with your community and even make a few bucks?

Breakout: Knight Lab tools update

4:10 — 5 p.m., Break Out C

An update on the reporting tools developed at the Knight Lab at Northwestern University, including Timeline JS, Soundcite, Storymap and more.

Breakout: Creative revenue concepts

4:10 — 5 p.m., Break Out A

Peek behind the banner ad — what are some other revenue strategies that are actually working?

Breakout: Collaborations

4:10 — 5 p.m., Break Out B

Sometimes indie news organizations can play nice together — and even with legacy news outlets. How can you stay competitive when working with other groups, and what are the benefits of combining forces for certain projects?

Coffee break

5 — 5:15 p.m., Lobby

Have a cup of coffee and chat with speakers and colleagues.

Closing: Lessons learned

5:15 — 6 p.m., Film Row Cinema

What's the best tip you got this weekend? What project are you going to tackle when you get home? What's a great idea, but maybe not quite right for you? Let's have a group conversation.

Birds of a feather

6:30 — 11:59 p.m., Downtown Chicago

Out and about in downtown Chicago. Spend the evening with friends new and old, and keep the discussion going as you have fun in Chicago. Make dinner plans, catch the last night of regular season baseball at a bar, stroll around the city — relax and enjoy, you made it through the conference!