A Q&A with Bob Brown, publisher of The Swellesley Report in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Repealing Net Neutrality would allow giant chain media to work in concert with internet conglomerates to limit access to independent, alternative, and local news sites...... Read more»
Local independent online news publishers are reaching out to readers in the wake of Facebook's decision to "remove news from its News Feed," warning them that they might no longer see breaking news and accountability journalism on crucial matters in their community. Many are using it as an impetus to sign readers up for direct notification of local stories via email newsletter.
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.
A Q&A with LION member Wendy Parker, publisher of East Cobb News in Georgia.
A Q&A with Mark Henderson, publisher of the Worcester Sun in Massachusetts.
Local independent online news publishers produced a steady stream of significant accountability journalism in 2017, from major investigations that had immediate impact on public policy, to deeply reported ongoing coverage of local government, business and public health issues.
Repealing Net Neutrality would allow giant chain media to work in concert with internet conglomerates to limit access to independent, alternative, and local news sites, according to LION Publishers.
Independent web publishers from Texas, Wisconsin and Illinois discussed the benefits of their education-based work with youth reporters — ranging from teens to graduate students — at the 2017 Local Independent Online News Publishers Conference held last month in Chicago.
The billionaire owner of DNAinfo, Gothamist, Chicagoist, LAist and other local news properties pulled the plug on his websites Thursday. Joe Ricketts even removed the archives of his reporters' work, with the move coming a week after the New York newsroom voted to join a union.
The websites were shut down with no warning at the close of the business day on the East Coast, even as stories were being published. Each of them was entirely replaced with a brief announcement from the owner.
The DNAinfo journalists who suddenly found themselves without jobs should take a few days to enjoy some much-deserved time with their families, and then get in touch with one of the 180-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!
Like the withering of AOL's Patch before it, Ricketts' various sites ran out of gas not because local news isn't a solid business, but because they're not truly local.
There were great journalists working for those sites, doing fine reporting (including some excellent accountability journalism). But there's a vast difference between a billionaire owner who eventually gets bored and an authentically local publisher who's invested in his or her business in a fundamental way.
Ricketts said that his sites weren't making enough money: "...while we made important progress toward building DNAinfo into a successful business, in the end, that progress hasn't been sufficient to support the tremendous effort and expense needed...."
The local news industry is strong, healthy and growing — the real local segment of the industry. LION members and our many colleagues running local news websites are demonstrating that every day. In fact, more than 200 indie pubishers and experts were just at our annual conference in Chicago over the weekend — the largest ever local indie news gathering.
"I'm hopeful that in time, someone will crack the code on a business that can support exceptional neighborhood storytelling for I believe telling those stories remains essential," Ricketts said.
It's not a simple task, but the members of LION have shown that dedicated effort can make it work.
To build a paid reader membership program, publishers need to establish a relationship with their audience, grow the number of subscriptions, and -- most importantly -- take the leap and ask for money, News Revenue Hub chief Mary Walter-Brown said Oct. 28 at the 2017 LION Summit in Chicago, the country's largest gathering of local independent online news organizations.
Readers in Saucon Valley in eastern Pennsylvania love their sports, so it was natural for local independent online news site Saucon Source to monetize its coverage of the local athletic scene.
Tasneem Raja is the driving force behind The Tyler Loop, a news magazine out of deeply red East Texas, and she explains it best: "We're a new ‘small batch’ digital magazine for Tylerites who want to better understand our beautiful, complicated, evolving city. We'll be posting a few meticulously crafted stories each month. Sign up for our newsletter below and never miss a story!"
It’s not enough for journalists just to seek public information from government and public agencies for a specific story or reason. It’s a full-fledged obligation that requires persistence and a good bit of diplomacy.
For many local journalism publishers, foundation funding seems like the Holy Grail – if you can get it, it will solve all of your revenue problems.
But is that true?
Journalism and truck driving have a lot in common: Both professions have had requirements for hiring that make it tough to break in if you haven’t followed a traditional path. LION Summit speaker Heather Bryant made the comparison in recalling a widely read and discussed column/rant she wrote and posted over the summer.
See more in the LION news archive
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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.
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