LION Publishers elects officers, thanks departing directors

At the 2015 LION Summit, the Board of Directors re-elected officers and thanked three founding directors for their service. The slate was approved by members at the annual meeting...... Read more»

Rice, Wheeler and Allred elected to LION Board

Three new members have been unanimously elected to the LION Publishers Board of Directors: Traven Rice of The Lo-Down, Brian Wheeler of Charlottesville Tomorrow, and Jay Allred of Richland Source...... Read more»

More than a dozen new indie local news publishers join LION

More than a dozen new local journalism entrepreneurs, from California to Florida and New Hampshire to Texas, have joined LION Publishers, a national organization representing the publishers of local independent online news sites...... Read more»

I wish I knew: LION Publishers share their best ideas

A LION conference favorite - Publishers sharing their best ideas. This session was like a best practices roundtable, only in a movie-theater setting........ Read more»

Leaders stress building community to increase financial support by readers

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

A diverse local news ecosystem is emerging, and it doesn’t need ‘scale’ or venture capital

You can’t create the Pizza Hut of local news: Local independent online sites are filling gaps left by newspapers, but old economics don’t apply...... Read more»

Join LION Publishers

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

LION Publishers elects officers, thanks departing directors

At the 2015 LION Summit, the Board of Directors re-elected officers and thanked three founding directors for their service. The slate was unanimously approved by members at the annual meeting.

The current Board of Local Independent Online News Publishers is:

  • Dylan Smith, Chairman,
  • Charlotte Anne Lucas, Secretary (chair, Membership Committee),
  • Doug Hardy, Treasurer,
  • Jay Allred, Richland Source
  • Steve Beatty,
  • Scott Brodbeck (chair, Member Benefits Committee),
  • Kelly Gilfillan,
  • Suzanne McBride,
  • Traven Rice, The Lo-Down
  • Brian Wheeler, Charlottesville Tomorrow


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Michele McLellan reflects on past six years of local news

Michele McLellan organized the Block by Block conference during 2010-12, the precursor to the LION Publishers Summit. LION chairman Dylan Smith, publisher of the, introduced McLellan Friday as the fairy godmother of local news. The dominant narratives at that time were...

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Pew Research Center’s Holcomb updates publishers on state of local news

As independent online publications become more prevalent on the digital landscape, it's important for publishers to understand where readers access their local news and the part that social media plays in that process. Jesse Holcomb, associate director of Journalism Research with the Pew Research Center, broke down the numbers for LION Publishers at the 2015 summit at Columbia College in Chicago Friday.

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Publishers share lessons learned in crowdfunding

LION publishers shared important lessons Friday on the use of crowdfunding for journalism projects with both Beacon and Kickstarter.  In 2015, The Lo-Down successfully raised $28,000 to cover small businesses on New York City's Lower East Side while Charlottesville Tomorrow faced a setback when a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for website enhancements failed to capture the community's attention.

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I wish I knew: LION Publishers share their best ideas

This session was like a best practices round table, only in a movie-theater setting, where the microphone was floated around the lecture hall to solicit the best ideas from local editors for boosting readership, advertising, revenue and, as a result, spirits of  those in the online news trenches who generally discover tricks of the trade by trial and error.

Read on and be inspired. We got about 21 ideas from the session. Then, vote for your favorite idea - winner gets a $100 gift card.

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Rice, Wheeler and Allred elected to LION Board

Three new members have been elected to the LION Publishers Board of Directors: Traven Rice, publisher of The Lo-Down in New York; Brian Wheeler, executive director of Charlottesville Tomorrow in Virginia; and Jay Allred, publisher of the Ohio-based Richland Source.

The trio, all active members of Local Independent Online News Publishers and leaders of their respective news organizations, were unanimously elected by the Board to three-year terms. LION Publishers now has nearly 130 members, who operate local online news outlets in 32 states and Washington, D.C.

"As someone with a passion for local, independent news, I am thrilled to be joining the LION Board," Rice said.

Wheeler said, "I look forward to serving as a new member of the LION Board. Independent publishers and quality journalism are both essential ingredients for building better communities around the nation. LION plays a critical role placing a spotlight on best practices, sharing knowledge and supporting our members' innovative work."

"LION has been a tremendous resource from the moment I joined," said Allred. "The group's role in connecting independent online news publishers across the country is absolutely crucial to not only its members, but to the communities they serve. Membership has made our company stronger, smarter, and more innovative."

The three new directors are well-suited to help represent the diverse membership of LION Publishers and the neighborhoods, towns and cities on which they report. Wheeler operates a mission-driven nonprofit known for its deep public-service reporting on land use, transportation and education, while Rice and Allred run for-profit outlets with reputations for creative engagement with readers and local businesses.

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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