An outline of first steps for fledgling publishers, written by LION's executive director, Beth Lawton, was published by NetNewsCheck: "Success for Local Independent Online News Publishers comes in as many forms as there are publications, but ensuring your own success as a journalism entrepreneur comes from careful and deliberate planning and sustainable organization and systems as much as it comes from passion. Beth Lawton, executive director for LION Publishers, says the most common advice she hears from members is, 'Make sure to set up your business before you break news.'"
She advised: For out-of-work journalists, including many let go recently from AOL’s Patch, it can be tempting to set up a site and start publishing news within days of a layoff. In fact, registering a domain, setting up a basic site and publishing your first piece of news can literally take just a few hours.
Stop. Don't do it. Read more »
LION Publishers is proud to announce the hiring of an experienced media professional, Beth Lawton, as the organization's Executive Director. Lawton will tackle the nonprofit group's efforts to better connect the members of Local Independent Online News Publishers, and to foster the growth of indie news sites across the country.
"We're very pleased to have Beth Lawton join us. Her energy and experience will be a huge asset as LION grows our organizational capacity," said Dylan Smith, the Chairman of LION's Board of Directors.
Lawton, with experience in multimedia reporting and editing as well as media association leadership, said, "The advances in mobile journalism and consumer technology, with the increasing focus on local, relevant and useful online information, make this a great time for journalism entrepreneurs. I'm excited about expanding LION Publishers' reach and influence as more people jump into publishing community news."
"We're thrilled to have Beth on board," said Scott Brodbeck, who sits on LION's Board and chairs the Member Benefits Committee. "Her talents will allow LION to take its mission of supporting local indie news publishers to the next level," said Brodbeck, the founder of Local News Now LLC and publisher of ARLnow.com and two other local news websites in the D.C. metro area. "This sends a strong message to media pundits everywhere: local online news innovation is happening and indie publishers are leading the way." Read more »
A complete set of videos of the 2013 LION Summit is now available. Posted sessions are linked from the conference schedule page.
Sixteen of the presentations and discussions were captured, including talks by John Bracken of the Knight Foundation and Internet news trailblazer Steve Waldman. Read more »
LION Publishers has teamed with Borrell Associates to benchmark members' online revenues. Borrell, a noted industry research and consulting firm, will survey members on their revenues in various categories to gather data for a private, members-only report on the state of the LION segment of the industry.
The report, which will be available in early January, will help members determine not only how they compare with other local online news operations across the U.S., but also how much they could be making in their individual markets.
Participation is free and open only to Full and Provisional members of LION Publishers. Read more »
Two new members have been elected to the LION Publishers Board of Directors, AustinTalks.org publisher Suzanne McBride and BrentwoodHomePage.com managing partner Kelly Gilfillan.
The pair were elected unanimously by the Board to three-year terms, filling out the leadership of Local Independent Online News Publishers to a full complement of 13 Directors.
"I'm excited about joining the Board of LION Publishers, whose work is so critical to the future of local news," said McBride, the associate chair of the Journalism Department at Columbia College Chicago, where she teaches community news and investigative reporting.
Gilfillan, who co-founded BrentwoodHomePage.com, NolensvilleHomePage.com and FranklinHomePage.com in suburban Nashville, Tenn., said, "LION has been integral to BrentWord Communications' success. Co-founder Susan Leathers and I continue to be inspired by our peer publishers, their integrity and ingenuity. We are both proud to be a part of the organization."
Read more »
The LION Summit builds on the Block by Block conferences, bringing together the independent online news industry’s leaders and innovators from across the country for training, networking and conversations about the future of news. Most LION Publishers qualify for the special low $50 registration rate. Make sure your spot is reserved today for the Oct. 3-5 gathering at Columbia College Chicago.
Speakers will include successful online publishers and journalism professors. Plenty of time for networking and discussion will be built in to this fall’s conference. Informal gatherings will be planned for those staying in Chicago Saturday night who want to continue the discussion Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Register now! Read more »
Those Patch editors who are about to be laid off should take a few days to enjoy some much-deserved time with their families, and then get in touch with one of the hundred-plus members of Local Independent Online News Publishers. If you've got the drive to be an entrepreneur, we've got a network of independent publishers who are ready and willing to help you establish a news outlet that is focused on your community.
Start your own indie news site, and join us! You won;t have to cover a cat show (unless you want to), and nobody will fire you for snapping a photo. Read more »
Membership in Local Independent Online News Publishers reached more than 100 at the beginning of June, the national educational nonprofit announced Tuesday.
LION Publishers members include more than 90 dues-paying CEOs of local indie news sites around the country.
"We're extremely proud that LION's members represent the continuing success of independent local news sites," said Dylan Smith, chairman of LION's Board of Directors.
LION's members operate news organizations from Hawaii to Brooklyn, from the Grand Tetons to the Alamo, covering urban, suburban and rural communities.
LION's recruiting effort was bolstered by The Patterson Foundation, which helped underwrite LION's early organizational costs and matched up to half the dues of the new members.
"Support from The Patterson Foundation meant the world to us as we recruited news entrepreneurs to LION," said Charlotte-Ann Lucas, who chairs the Membership Committee. Read more »
The Board of Directors of Local Independent Online News Publishers expresses concern over a vote by Wisconsin legislators to evict a nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism organization from the University of Wisconsin campus.
In the dark of the night, Wisconsin legislators voted Wednesday to evict the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism from the UW-Madison campus.
The 12-4 party-line vote in the Joint Finance Committee was led by the Legislature's Republicans, who added a provision to a state budget proposal that would boot the nonprofit investigative news service from the Madison campus, and prohibit any university employees from working for the center as part of their official duties.
The WCIJ runs WiscsonsinWatch.org, producing independent nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative journalism. The Center is a member of the national Investigative News Network and its executive director, Andy Hall, is one of the more than 100 members of Local Independent Online News Publishers.
The Board of Directors of LION Publishers calls upon Wisconsin legislators to assess all of the facts involved before making a final decision on evicting the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and ending the successful collaboration between the Center and the university.
The more than 100 members of LION Publishers are dedicated, as is the staff of WCIJ, to reporting local news with integrity and accuracy. Solid, comprehensive information such as is reported by the Center is key to an informed society and wise choices.
We believe that a little bit of daylight always leads to better decisions. Read more»
Denise Civiletti, the editor and publisher of RiverheadLOCAL.com, was recently selected by the Board of Directors to help lead LION Publishers. Read more »
Reporters do a lot of things to earn their keep: interview public figures, comb through the fine print of public records, attend community events, work to offer comprehensive background on the tough questions we face together. But what we get paid for is something that should never be questioned, never be for sale. Trust.
This past weekend, an industry-wide group of journalism organizations came together to make a stand on issues that cut to the quick of our collective credibility: plagiarism and fabrication. The solution we call for isn't a mere band-aid to be slapped on, but a comprehensive practice that can only serve to make all reporting better: attribution.
As those building the future of local news, Local Independent Online News Publishers are dedicated to fostering excellence and upholding high professional standards. We support the premise that principled journalism is honest, accurate and transparent. As professional journalists, we must demand that of ourselves, lest our readers come to expect any less. Read more »
The publishers of a California news site, LakeCoNews.com, have settled a lawsuit against a local sheriff after his office agreed to stop blacklisting them and provide public records.
John Jensen and Elizabeth Larson, members of LION Publishers, reported that a stipulated judgment was reached in their case against Lake County Sheriff Frank Rivero. 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 »
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
Board of Directors
Local Independent Online News Publishers Inc. incorporated in August 2012. The Patterson Foundation provided support for the initial organizational effort. The Board of Directors includes publishers from a diverse group of news sites across the country: urban neighborhoods, medium-sized cities, rural towns, and regional sites:
- Dylan Smith, chairman, TucsonSentinel.com
- Krystal Knapp, secretary, PlanetPrinceton.com
- Howard Owens, treasurer, TheBatavian.com
- Ned Berke, Sheepsheadbites.com
- Brandy Tuzon Boyd, The Natomas Buzz
- Scott Brodbeck, ARLnow.com
- Denise Civiletti, RiverheadLOCAL.com
- Ikaika Hussey, The Hawaii Independent
- Charlotte Anne Lucas, NowcastSA.org
- Gerard DeMarco, CliffViewPilot.com
- Jesus Sanchez, TheEastSiderLA.com
Independent Local Online News Publishers Association Formed
On September 30, 2011, during the Block by Block conference at Loyola University Chicago, 21 local independent online publishers from across the United States voted to form an association.
A steering committee was appointed to further organize the association.
Questions should be directed to Dylan Smith, chairman of the Board of Directors of LION Publishers, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ned Berke, Sheepsheadbites.com
- Brandy Tuzon Boyd, NatomasBuzz.com
- Virgina Citrano, MyVeronaNJ.com
- Adrienne Fawcett, GazeboNews.com
- Mike Fourcher, Brownlinemedia.com
- Debbie Galant, Baristanet.com
- Darren Hillock, WestofTheI.com
- Ikaika Hussey, HawaiiIndependent.net
- Jeremy Iggers, TCDailyPlanet.net
- Ben Ilfeld, SacramentoPress.com
- Krystal Knapp, PlanetPrinceton.com
- Polly Kreisman, TheLoopNY.com
- Emily Lowrey, Magic City Post
- Charlotte Anne Lucas, NowcastSA.org
- La Risa Lynch, NeighborhoodScribe.com
- Susan Mernit, OaklandLocal.com
- Howard Owens, TheBatavian.com
- Jesus Sanchez, TheEastSiderLA.com
- Patrick Sand, WestSeattleBlog.com
- Amy Senk, CoronaDelMarToday.com
- Dylan Smith, TucsonSentinel.com
- John T. Ward, RedBankGreen.com
- Teresa Wippel, MyEdmondsNews.com