2017 LION Summit: Keeping it real: Local news results

Register now — LION's conference in Chicago, Sept. 21-23, will feature dozens of informative sessions with concrete tips for success in the local news biz...... Read more»

In many communities, best local journalism is not coming from print

Margaret Sullivan is right to sound the alarm about what steep newspaper cuts are doing to local journalism across the country, but her April 16 column, “Great local reporting stands between you and wrongdoing. And it needs saving,” misses the story of what is replacing and can replace what’s being ..... Read more»

LION welcomes new members from 18 states

LION Publishers is pleased to have welcomed more than two dozen new members running local independent online news sites from 18 different states over the past year, plus other new members who are preparing to launch sites...... Read more»

Local news site’s 36-hour livestream a fun take on annual fund drives

The Valley Independent Sentinel's editor and reporter are on camera for 36 hours straight to make the case for supporting local journalism - and other nonprofits - in Connecticut's blue collar Naugatuck Valley...... Read more»

LION member spotlight: Grant County Beat

A Q&A with Mary Alice Murphy, publisher of the Grant County Beat in New Mexico...... Read more»

LION member spotlight: Local Spins

A Q&A with LION member John Sinkevics, publisher of Local Spins in Grand Rapids, Michigan...... Read more»

Local doesn't scale: The case for independent news publishers

Dylan Smith, publisher of TucsonSentinel.com and chairman of LION's board, delivered an "Ignite" talk in December about the nationwide emergence of local independent online news publishers at the Newsgeist conference in Phoenix, sponsored by Google and the Knight Foundation...... Read more»

Join LION Publishers

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

LION welcomes new members from 18 states

LION Publishers is pleased to have welcomed more than two dozen new members running local independent online news sites from 18 different states over the past year, plus other new members who are preparing to launch sites.

Read more »

2017 LION Summit: Keeping it real: Local news results

Register now — LION's conference in Chicago, Sept. 21-23, 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 2017 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 Sept. 21-23, 2017, at the downtown campus of Columbia College Chicago. It will feature two full days packed with an array of speakers, panel discussions and networking opportunities devoted to revenue ideas and best practices, community engagement and sustainability. Plus, we'll open with 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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Podcast: Jesus Sanchez of The Eastsider in Los Angeles

LION member Jesus Sanchez is the proprietor of The Eastsider LA in Los Angeles. We talked with Jesus about being a one man band, making ends meet when you're covering communities in a big city (including communities that are gentrifying), and about the differences between LION sites in large metro areas and smaller towns.
 

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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 2017 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 »

Podcast: Kelly Gilfillan of Home Page Media Group

Kelly Gilfillan is one of the premier sales pros in LION Publishers. She started Home Page Media Group with a partner, journalist Susan Leathers, and grew it from one site in a suburb of Nashville, Tenn., to numerous local sites in the region. We asked Kelly about sales strategy, finding sales talent, launching (and monetizing) special sections, the difficulty of expanding, financial bumps in the road and about email marketing and client service.

Read more »

Local doesn't scale: The case for independent news publishers

Dylan Smith, publisher of the Tucson Sentinel and chairman of the LION Publishers board of directors, delivered an "Ignite" talk in December about the nationwide emergence of local independent online news publishers at the Newsgeist conference in Phoenix, sponsored by Google and the Knight Foundation.

Read more »

LION Publishers names Matt DeRienzo as first full-time executive director

Local Independent Online News Publishers, a national organization dedicated to supporting local journalism entrepreneurs, has named Matt DeRienzo as its first full-time executive director.

The hire, made possible by a grant from the Knight Foundation, will enable LION Publishers to expand training and mentorship of local publishers and idea-stage local news businesses across the country.

"Hiring Matt is a banner headline for LION," said Dylan Smith, the chairman of LION's Board of Directors and the editor and publisher of TucsonSentinel.com. "As a mostly volunteer-based organization, we've been able to accomplish a great deal on behalf of local independent news publishers since our 2012 founding. With Matt DeRienzo now pushing us ahead on a full-time basis, we'll have the capacity to support even more publishers who are creating the change needed to rebuild local news."

DeRienzo, a veteran reporter, editor, publisher and media executive, has assisted LION in a part-time role over the past two years.

"I'm passionate about LION's mission and thrilled to be able to work full-time helping entrepreneurs launch sites that fill gaps in local journalism, and assist existing publishers reach sustainability and grow their operations," DeRienzo said.

DeRienzo said he will prioritize building on the organization's work to share best practices among independent publishers, as well as building connections with potential startup news outlets in under-served communities around the country.

"We're excited about how this will improve LION's ability, first and foremost, to connect local news entrepreneurs with indie publishers who've found a formula that works, with timely advice, and with ideas that they can immediately put to use," DeRienzo said. "We anticipate that having the capacity to share even more of this road map for the local online news business will encourage more people to step up and address their own communities' journalism needs."

"Matt is always actively listening and helping to lead the critical national conversation about the future of independent journalism. He consistently offers innovative ways for us to move forward as an organization," said Traven Rice, publisher of The Lo-Down (New York City) and a member of LION's Board. "In the past two years, I have come to admire his dedication to engagement within our growing community of local publishers. He clearly respects the diversity and unique viewpoints our members bring to the online publishing world. I’m eager to see LION continue to flourish under his leadership."

Noting that DeRienzo has "done an outstanding job as interim director," Charlotte-Anne Lucas, LION's Board Secretary, said, "I'm delighted that Matt will be our Executive Director."

"He shares LION's passion and vision for the future of local journalism, which is the foundation of democracy. With Matt's help, this organization will grow and thrive," said Lucas, a founding member of LION and the managing director of NowCastSA in San Antonio.

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LION joins 60+ press groups urging Trump to meet on gov't access

LION Publishers joined with the Society of Professional Journalists and about 60 other journalism organizations in asking President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence to set up a meeting to discuss transparency and access to government.

The coalition sent a letter Wednesday to Trump and Pence, asking for a meeting or conference call to discuss:

• the ability of reporters to directly interact with government employees who are subject matter experts, rather than interacting with Public Information Officers (or having all conversations monitored by Public Information Officers);
• access to the activities of the President;
• and ensuring that the Federal Freedom of Information Act remains as strong as possible.

“We believe strongly that journalists are the eyes and ears of the citizens of the United States,” said SPJ National President Lynn Walsh. “The average American citizen does not have the time or resources to check up on elected officials to make sure they are running the country the way they should. It is up to journalists to help hold those in power accountable.”

Local news reporters aren't often called upon to interview the president, but they do deal with federal officials frequently, said Dylan Smith, chairman of Local Independent Online News Publishers.

"Federal regulators are daily making decisions that have a direct effect on local communities," Smith said. "Whether it's the environment, or business, law enforcement or transportation funding, their power extends far from Washington, D.C. Sadly, too often they are not responsive to questions from journalists — and regular citizens — seeking to understand and explain what their actions will mean to local residents."

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.

Benefits

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.

Representation

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