2018 LION Summit: Steps to success

Register now — LION's conference in Chicago, Oct. 11-13, will feature dozens of informative sessions with concrete tips for success in the local news biz...... Read more»

Join LION Publishers

​Join the nation's only association dedicated to Local Independent Online News Publishers...... Read more»

2018 LION Summit: Steps to success

Register now — LION's conference in Chicago, Oct. 11-13, 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 2018 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. 11-13, 2018, 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. Sign up now!

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Chicago to Oslo: International reach for local news summit

As editors and publishers from around the United States gather at the LION Summit, the importantance of local news all over the world will be reinforced by a group of about a dozen journalists from Norway. 

Sponsored by the Norwegian Institute of Journalism (an organization with perhaps the shortest URL ever), the managers from small news outlets around that Scandinavian nation will join LION members from the U.S. and Canada, and attendees from other countries, in discussing how to effectively rebuild local journalism.

"Norway has a large number of small newspapers (circulation 1,000 – 5,000), serving communities all over the country," said Asgeir Olden, associate director of Institutt for Journalistikk. "They are all on print (and on the Internet), and most of them have done remarkably well in a period when larger newspapers have struggled, particularly when it comes to circulation."

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LION Summit attendees cherish practical advice for sustainable local news businesses

For some past attendees, the annual LION conference in Chicago has been an invaluable starting point for plans to launch their own local online news sites. For people already running a local news organization, it’s provided practical advice on the challenges of making the transition from journalist to running a business, specific ideas about revenue, journalism, technology and audience engagement to take home and try, and the moral support of socializing with other independent publishers from across the country.

Registration is open now for the 2018 LION Summit, which will be held Oct. 11-13 at Columbia College in Chicago and feature three days of presentations, workshops and discussion on sustainable business models for the local online inews business.

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LION Summit hotel update - register now!

Rooms in Downtown Chicago are going fast — make sure you're registered with a hotel, and sign up to attend the 2018 Local Independent Online News Publishers conference today.

Here are several nearby hotels that have rooms available:

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Boot camp for new publishers featured at 2018 LION Summit

The country’s largest gathering of local independent online news publishers will kick off this year with a full-day “boot camp” for new publishers and idea-stage local news entrepreneurs.

The 2018 LION Summit Oct. 11-13 at Columbia College in Chicago will feature three full days of presentations, workshops and discussion about sustainable local news business models, revenue, journalism, technology, audience development and engagement.

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Our conference home: The historic Ludington Building

The site of the 2018 LION Summit is the historic Ludington Building, the earliest steel-frame building still standing in Chicago. The 1891 building was designed by architect William LeBaron Jenney, acknowledged as the "Father of the Skyscraper" due to his developing the fire-proofed metal skeleton-frame system of construction. The eight-story building was one of the first skycrapers entirely clad in terra-cotta.


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What makes the LION Summit different?

It's conference season for journalists, but the industry gathering that's the most meaningful for me and, I hope, among the most fruitful and effective for our attendees, is LION's annual meeting of the minds.


For many of the same reasons that LION itself is so vital: we are completely focused on the work of indie publishers, and the special challenges and creative opportunities we face in rebuilding local news.

The LION Summit isn't just for listening. You need to play an active part. Here's how:

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Annual summit of local independent online news publishers Oct. 11-13 in Chicago

The country’s largest gathering of local independent online news publishers will return to Chicago this fall for three days of discussion, advice, idea sharing and training on revenue, journalism, audience engagement and technology.

Discounted early-bird registration is available now for the annual LION Publishers Summit, Oct. 11-13 at Columbia College in Chicago.

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LION members will have access to ASNE Legal Hotline

The American Society of News Editors is partnering with the Local Independent Online News Publishers to expand its recently improved Legal Hotline service. Under this partnership, members of LION will gain free access to the new  ASNE Legal Hotline Facebook group, through which they can run their legal questions by ASNE Legal Counsel Kevin Goldberg and interact with other news leaders about legal issues in a timely manner.

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Dive In! Watchdog reporting makes a splash with readers & revenue

LION Publishers will hold a day-long program in Orlando June 15 on business model, revenue, journalism and technology issues facing local independent online news publishers.

It will feature presentations, panel discussions and workshops on the business model, revenue, journalism and technology challenges and opportunities associated with the grassroots resurgence of local journalism entrepreneurship that is happening as corporate legacy media declines across the country.

The program coincides with the annual Investigative Reporters & Editors annual conference, which runs June 14-17 at the Renaissance Orlando at Sea World.

The Institute for Nonprofit News will be holding its annual "INN Days," which is open to LION members, at the same location June 13 and 14.

Admission is FREE for LION members, INN members, and registered attendees of the IRE conference, and is only $49 for non-members.

This event is sponsored in part by Broadstreet Ads.

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Speakers wanted: Get up on your soap box!

While we're already fleshing out a lineup of amazing speakers on revenue, tech and editorial topics for the 2018 LION Summit, we're still eager to hear more great ideas. We're looking for LION members who want to take part in a panel or breakout session, as well as other news industry experts who want to help rebuild local news. Read more »

LION is accepting applications for investigative reporting grants

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?

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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.

Read more about member benefits »

Our mission

Foster the viability and excellence of locally focused independent online news organizations and cultivate their connections to their communities through education and action.

Our values

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