LION Summit: Local indie online news publishers roaring back to Chicago

On track: Startup to sustainability

Register now — LION's conference in Chicago, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, will feature dozens of informative sessions with concrete tips for success in the local news biz. It's not too late to sign up to be a part of LION's largest-ever gathering!

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. 29-Oct. 1, 2016, 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. Last year, more than 100 publishers and editors, academics, foundation representatives, industry experts and vendors attended our Chicago conference. In 2016, you won't want to miss the vigorous exchange of ideas.

LION Publishers has nearly 130 members in 35 states and Washington, D.C., representing both for-profit and nonprofit business models — all independently owned and operated and devoted to local journalism.

The organization’s gathering in Chicago will feature opportunities for members to discuss common issues and problems, share success stories and encourage the founding of new local news sites. Each event will feature an informative slate of speakers, workshops and panels on topics relating to local publishing, covering real-world strategies for revenue, hands-on technology demonstrations, effective reporting tips, and experts speaking on business and legal issues.


  • Check the schedule page for detailed updates »

  • Thursday, Sept. 29, registration will open at 4 p.m., with an evening reception and networking event.
  • Friday, Sept. 30, sessions will run all day, roughly 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., with an evening gathering.
  • Saturday, Oct. 1, sessions will again run all day, roughly 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Previous LION gatherings have been an excellent source of information and networking for journalists who have recently launched their own local news sites or are considering it. With a wide diversity of membership, and some publishers who have been in operation for over a decade, LION brings together the best business and reporting minds in local online news.

Stay tuned for info on speakers and sessions!


LION Publishers has arranged a block of rooms for Sept. 29-Oct. 1 at the Best Western Grant Park Hotel in Chicago, just a block from the site of the summit, at a special discounted rate of $174 for single rooms and $184 for double/double rooms. Call the hotel directly at (312) 922-2900 and mention "LION" to reserve a room. The deadline for obtaining that rate is Aug. 19, but the block of rooms could be filled up by then, so act soon. The group rate will be honored up to three days before and after the conference, for those who wish to spend some extra time in Chicago. Also, you can check out other nearby hotels listed on our Map page.

Need a roommate? Use our list to help find someone to split hotel costs.

Travel stipends

The Board of Directors of LION Publishers is pleased to offer a limited number of stipends to help fund travel and hotel arrangements for the 2016 Summit. Check back for more info soon on how to apply. We'll help defray travel and hotel costs to ensure that even more publishers are able to attend. Stipends will be available to Full Publisher Members and Provisional Publisher Members of LION whose dues are current through Oct. 1.


Questions about becoming a sponsor of the LION Summit or about programming or registration can be directed to interim executive director Matt DeRienzo at

Register for the 2016 LION Summit

Sign up now for the nation's only conference for local indie publishers, by local indie publishers!