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 2019 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 »

A new vibe for local news: LION Publishers Summit set for Nashville—Oct. 24-26, 2019


Contact: Mark Glaser, LION Interim Director of Programming for more information.

A new vibe for local online news: Find your rhythm at the LION Publishers Summit in Music City – Nashville—Oct. 24-26, 2019

Put Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 24-26 on your calendar, as the Local Independent Online News Publishers announces a new venue for its annual conference – this year in Music City – Nashville, Tenn. Registration is now live.

“This is the first time that our annual summit has been outside of Chicago – the city where we were founded,” said Kelly Gilfillan, publisher at F W Publishing and chair of the LION Board of Directors. “We are excited to move this year’s meeting to Nashville’s Music City Center, where attendees can experience a dynamic conference program and also enjoy the best Nashville has to offer – from amazing live music on every corner, to fabulous food and drink, to close by art and music museums.”

With more than 100 new restaurants and bars added in 2017 alone, plus myriad attractions that include the Nashville Studio Tour and the Frist Art Museum—it’s no wonder that Nashville was named “The Hottest Travel Destination of 2018.”

Best of all, conference organizers are planning dozens of informative sessions aimed at providing both veteran and novice online news publishers with ideas they use for creating and sustaining revenue. More information on specific programming will be released in the coming weeks, but the annual summit will feature three days packed with speakers, panel discussions and networking opportunities devoted to revenue ideas and best practices, community engagement and sustainability.

LION Publishers has nearly 250 members in 47 states and Washington, D.C., representing both for-profit and nonprofit business models — all independently owned and operated and devoted to local journalism.

Lodging has already been secured for those who want to start making their travel plans. LION Publishers has arranged for blocks of rooms for Oct. 24-26 at two locations: the Cambria Nashville Downtown, just a block from Music City Center, at a special discounted rate of $249 for single and double rooms. Guests can either call the reservations number at 800-424-6423 and request the rate for Lion Publishers, mention “LION Group” or CLICK HERE to book your room today. 

The deadline for obtaining that rate is September 27, 2019, but the block of rooms will be filled up by then, so act soon. The group rate will be honored up to 3 days before and after the conference, for those who wish to spend some extra time in Nashville. If you wish to book additional dates outside of the three day LION Summit window, please do so directly by calling Rick Rodriguez, Cambria Group Sales Manager, at (615) 515-5807.

Nearby accommodations are also available at the Comfort Inn, 1501 Demonbreun St, Nashville, TN 37203, six blocks from the conference venue at a group rate of $199 per room. Please ask for the LION Publishers group at (615) 356-0888.

There is another group block at the Quality Inn Nashville Downtown Stadium, 303 Interstate Dr, Nashville, TN 37213, with a rate of $149 per room. You can book rooms online or by calling (615) 244-6690 and asking for the LION Publishers group rate.

Eventbrite - 2019 LION Summit: A new VIBE for local online news

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LION broadens membership criteria and outreach to grow community of local independent publishers

The 13-member LION Board of Directors expands the group’s outreach, programs, and infrastructure after a weekend retreat in Dallas. The strategic-planning session came at a time when concerned citizens nationwide are worried about the state of local news. LION believes the future is bright, and the organization is devoted to leading the way in creating and nurturing local independent online newsrooms. Read more »

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.

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?

Read more »

LION launches RAMP local advertising mentorships

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!

Read more »

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