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2017 LION Summit: Keeping it real: Local news results

Register now — LION's conference in Chicago, Oct. 26-28, will feature dozens of informative sessions with concrete tips for success in the local news biz. Be a part of LION's largest-ever gathering! 

Check out the complete schedule of session for the 2017 LION Summit — more than 3 dozen presentations and conversations over 3 days, with even more speakers and discussion leaders being added soon.

LION Publishers is pleased to invite all who care about the future of local journalism to a conference devoted to the journalistic excellence and economic well-being of local independent online news sites.

The annual LION Summit will return to Chicago on Oct. 26-28, 2017, at the downtown campus of Columbia College Chicago. It will feature three days packed with an array of speakers, panel discussions and networking opportunities devoted to revenue ideas and best practices, community engagement and sustainability. We'll open with a Thursday "boot camp" of in-depth sessions with experts, an afternoon networking and informational session, and hold nightly receptions where we can all share what we've learned. Last year, more than 125 publishers and editors, academics, foundation representatives, industry experts and vendors attended our Chicago conference. In 2017, you won't want to miss the vigorous exchange of ideas.

LION Publishers has nearly 180 members in 41 states and Washington, D.C., representing both for-profit and nonprofit business models — all independently owned and operated and devoted to local journalism.

The organization’s gathering in Chicago will feature opportunities for members to discuss common issues and problems, share success stories and encourage the founding of new local news sites. Each event will feature an informative slate of speakers, workshops and panels on topics relating to local publishing, covering real-world strategies for revenue, hands-on technology demonstrations, effective reporting tips, and experts speaking on business and legal issues.


  • Check the schedule page for detailed updates »

  • Thursday, Oct. 26, registration will open at 1 p.m., with afternoon "boot camp" workshops aimed at new publishers, idea-stage entrepreneurs and established publishers looking to dig into their operations, plus an evening reception and networking event.
  • Friday, Oct. 27, sessions will run all day, roughly 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., followed by an evening gathering, including light food and drinks.
  • Saturday, Oct. 28, sessions will again run all day, roughly 9:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m., with "out on the town" socializing to follow.

New to the schedule this year are the boot camp sessions on Thursday. We'll hold separate tracks, with information named at startup publishers and sessions for experienced operators. There is no additional charge to attend the boot camp.

The summit will feature presentations, panel discussions and in-depth breakout sessions on advertising sales, sponsored content, membership programs, email newsletters, podcasting, video, tech platforms, expansion and scale, nonprofit vs. for-profit business models, legal concerns, FOIA, solutions journalism, local sports and database reporting.

In addition to three days of networking and sessions led by industry experts, your registration includes light breakfast and a catered lunch on Friday and Saturday, coffee and snacks, and appetizers/light dinner and drinks at the Thursday and Friday evening receptions.

Previous LION gatherings have been an excellent source of information and networking for journalists who have recently launched their own local news sites or are considering it. With a wide diversity of membership, and some publishers who have been in operation for over a decade, LION brings together the best business and reporting minds in local online news.

Register for the 2017 LION Summit

Sign up now for the nation's only conference for local indie publishers, by local indie publishers!

Sign up soon! Late registration — $145 members, $290 non-members, $50 students — runs Oct. 14-25, with at-the-door registration available for $170 for members, $315 for non-members and $60 for students..


The 2017 LION Summit is sponsored in part by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Facebook, Walsh Creative, Ezoic, Broadstreet Ads, BIGR Media, Town News, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Bizhyood, the Center for Cooperative Media, and the Poynter Institute, and is hosted by Columbia College Chicago. Questions about becoming a sponsor of the LION Summit or about programming or registration can be directed to executive director Matt DeRienzo at


LION Publishers has arranged a block of rooms for Oct. 26-28 at the Best Western Grant Park Hotel in Chicago, just a block from the site of the summit, at a special discounted rate of $174 for single rooms and $184 for double/double rooms. Register online here or call the hotel at (312) 922-2900 and mention "LION" to reserve a room. The deadline for obtaining that rate is Sept. 28, but the block of rooms could be filled up by then, so act soon. The group rate will be honored up to three days before and after the conference, for those who wish to spend some extra time in Chicago. Also, you can check out other nearby hotels listed on our Map page.

Need a roommate? Use our list to help find someone to split hotel costs.

2017 conference blog

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