#LION16

Schedule of sessions & events

On track: Startup to sustainability

Check out the complete schedule of session for the 2016 LION Summit — more than 3 dozen presentations and conversations over 3 days, with even more speakers and discussion leaders!

  • 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 with light food and drinks.
  • Saturday, Oct. 1, sessions will again run all day, roughly 9:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m., with "out on the town" socializing to follow.
  • Breakfast and lunch will be provided both Friday and Saturday. Light dinner and drinks will be provided at the Thursday and Friday evening receptions.

Conference sessions will be held at Columbia College Chicago, in the Film Row Cinema and other facilities, 1104 S. Wabash, in the Loop.

See the map page for location info and a floor plan of the conference center.

Check back for schedule updates; sessions and times are subject to change.

Schedule

Thursday, Sept. 29 »

Registration

4 — 7 p.m., Lobby

Get signed in, grab a cup of coffee and chat. No need to rush — get settled in at your hotel and come over to the conference when you're ready.

Opening reception

6 — 8:30 p.m., Lobby

Have a drink and a bite to eat, catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Mix and mingle with your fellow publishers while you enjoy a selection of beer, wine and soft drinks, along with appetizer/light dinner items. The menu will include vegetarian and vegan selections.

Welcoming remarks

7:15 — 7:30 p.m., Lobby

A quick rundown of what to expect from the LION Summit — and what's expected of you: an engaged exchanged of experiences, a desire to learn new business and reporting strategies, and becoming even more connected with your fellow local news entrepreneurs. Also, we'll hear a few brief words from the underwriters who allow us to organize such a great gathering, including sponsors such as Broadstreet Ads, Walsh Creative, Bizyhood, TownNews.com and Home Page Media Group, as well as our hosts, Columbia College Chicago.

Beyond buzzwords: Startup challenges & growing healthy businesses

7:30 — 8:30 p.m., Lobby

Over a few drinks, a group discussion of what attendees are looking to learn. In a reprise of our annual "getting to know you" discussion: beyond repeating the usual patter about the future of news, let's dig into the challenges and rewards of running a local news operation. Let's talk startup hurdles and the paths to building a healthy business while doing great work.

Small group dinners

8:30 — 11:59 p.m., Downtown Chicago

Out and about in downtown Chicago. Hang out with old friends, and be sure to meet new ones and invite them along. But don't stay out too late. We'll get started promptly at 9 a.m. on Friday ; )

Friday, Sept. 30 »

Friday breakfast

8 — 9 a.m., Lobby

Have a cup of joe on us! We'll serve coffee and light breakfast items. Grab a bagel and shake off the cobwebs, and share a few war stories with fellow LIONs.

Welcome

9 — 9:15 a.m., Film Row Cinema

40 ideas in 40 minutes

9:15 — 9:55 a.m., Film Row Cinema

A group discussion of lessons learned over the past year: "My best story/My best business move." Attendees will share their quick tips about what's worked and what hasn't — and vote on the best suggestions. The winner will receive a $100 gift card. Come ready to run down your best revenue, reporting, engagement and tech tactics.

A word from our sponsor: Bizyhood

9:55 — 10 a.m., Film Row Cinema

Spend a few minutes learning more about Bizyhood, one of the sponsors who help make the LION Summit possible.

Lightning rounds: AMP, drone reporting, partnerships & local news trends

10 — 11:05 a.m., Film Row Cinema

Short presentations, followed by a quick Q&A session for each speaker.

A word from our sponsor: Walsh Creative

11:05 — 11:10 a.m., Film Row Cinema

Spend a few minutes learning more about Walsh Creative, one of the sponsors who help make the LION Summit possible.

Friday morning coffee break

11:10 — 11:25 a.m., Lobby

Have a cup of coffee and chat with speakers and colleagues.

Sustainability: Are were there yet?

11:25 a.m. — 12:05 p.m., Film Row Cinema

Local news pioneer Howard Owens on his experiences founding The Batavian, where he sees his business going — and why he's pointing it in that direction.

A word from our sponsor: Hearken

12:05 — 12:10 p.m., Film Row Cinema

  • Speaker/session leader
  • TBA | Hearken

Spend a few minutes learning more about Hearken, one of the sponsors who help make the LION Summit possible.

Eleanor Cippel: Effective ad sales

12:10 — 12:45 p.m., Film Row Cinema

Taking names and cashing checks in the local news biz.

A word from our sponsor: Broadstreet Ads

12:45 — 12:50 p.m., Film Row Cinema

Spend a few minutes learning more about Broadstreet Ads, one of the sponsors who help make the LION Summit possible.

Friday lunch

12:50 — 2 p.m., Lobby

Catered lunch in the lobby.

Panel: Measuring impact

2 — 2:40 p.m., Film Row Cinema

How can we best track our impact — both in our reach and effect on our communities, and in our management of our businesses? A panel of for- and nonprofit experts weighs in.

A word from our sponsor: TownNews.com

2:40 — 2:45 p.m., Film Row Cinema

  • Speaker/session leader
  • TBA

Spend a few minutes learning more about TownNews.com, one of the sponsors who help make the LION Summit possible.

FOIA: The art of access

2:50 — 3:30 p.m., Film Row Cinema

The head of the University of Arizona School of Journalism and a past president of the Society of Professional Journalists, Cuillier will give an intensive workshop on best practices for prying open public records.

A word from our sponsor: BIGR Media

3:30 — 3:35 p.m., Film Row Cinema

Spend a few minutes learning more about BIGR Media, one of the sponsors who help make the LION Summit possible.

Friday afternoon coffee break

3:35 — 4 p.m., Lobby

Have a cup of coffee and chat with speakers and colleagues.

Breakout A: CMS showdown

4 — 4:50 p.m., Breakout A

A roundtable discussion of experts on the pros and pitfalls of various content management systems — and how the local new industry can be even better served.

Breakout B: Startup roundtable

4 — 4:50 p.m., Breakout B

A roundtable discussion of grizzled experts and fresh faces alike — bring your questions and answers to a spirited group conversation.

Breakout C: Covering diverse communities, expanding diverse publishers

4 — 4:50 p.m., Breakout C

Experiences covering minority and under-served communities, and strategies for increased engagement — as well as a discussion of how to increase the number of local digital publishers reporting on those communities.

Quick coffee break - Friday

4:50 — 5:05 p.m., Lobby

Have a cup of coffee and chat with speakers and colleagues.

Breakout A: A closer look at local investigations

5:05 — 5:55 p.m., Breakout A

Let's take a deep dive into how to pull off investigative reporting on a shoestring: tools and techniques, and some great ideas you can try in your own work.

Breakout B: Advertising and other revenues

5:05 — 5:55 p.m., Breakout B

The burning question: how do we pull in more revenue to pay more local reporters?

Breakout C: Effectively engaging communities

5:05 — 5:55 p.m., Breakout C

How can we do a better job of interacting with our communities — what tools and practices will create better story ideas, deeper connections, greater trust (and maybe even steadier revenues)?

Happy hour

6 — 6:30 p.m., Lobby

Have a drink from the hosted bar and discuss the day.

LION Publishers annual meeting

6:15 — 6:45 p.m., South Lobby

LION's Board of Directors wil provide an update on our organization.

LION Reception

6:45 — 8 p.m., Lobby

Have a light bite to eat and a drink or two, on us.

Message in a bottle: A spirited discussion

7:25 — 8 p.m., Lobby

  • Speaker/session leader
  • TBA

A spirited discussion on the state of local news — led by a panel but open to all, this open discussion during our Friday night reception will prompt some food for thought while you nosh.

Hit the town

8 — 11:59 p.m., Downtown Chicago

Out and about in downtown Chicago. Hang out with old friends, and be sure to meet new ones and invite them along. Have dinner, check out a bar, go to a blues club. But don't stay out too late. We'll get started promptly at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, with breakfast and all-important coffee available at 8:30 a.m.

Saturday, Oct. 1 »

Saturday breakfast

8:30 — 9:30 a.m., Lobby

Have a cup of joe on us! We'll serve coffee and light breakfast items. Grab a bagel and shake off the cobwebs — we're realistic, so we'll start a half-hour later on Saturday morning.

Saturday welcome

9:30 — 9:40 a.m., Film Row Cinema

Panel discussion: Revenues

9:40 — 10:20 a.m., Film Row Cinema

A panel discussion on effective revenue strategies.

Lightning rounds: Editing, civic reporting, innovation & localism

10:25 — 11:30 a.m., Film Row Cinema

Short presentations, followed by a quick Q&A session for each speaker.

Saturday morning coffee break

11:30 — 11:50 a.m., Lobby

Have a cup of coffee and chat with speakers and colleagues.

Keynote: Why we do this work

11:50 — 12:10 a.m., Film Row Cinema

  • Speaker/session leader
  • Dylan Smith | LION/TucsonSentinel.com

A look at the state of local news, and why independent online publishers are vital to rebuilding journalism.

Keynote: John Bracken of the Knight Foundation

12:15 — 12:50 p.m., Film Row Cinema

John Bracken, vice president of the Media Innovation Program of the Knight Foundation, shares his thoughts on where the industry needs to move.

Saturday lunch

1 — 2 p.m., Lobby

Catered lunch in the lobby.

Breakout A: Revenue discussion

2 — 2:50 p.m., Breakout A

Let's talk money.

Breakout B: Video & podcasting

2 — 2:50 p.m., Breakout B

News video, podcasting and more: How to produce it, and how to sell it to sponsors.

Breakout C: Google basics training

2 — 2:50 p.m., Breakout C

How to use Google Trends to track search interest in various topics and convert them into embeddable, interactive graphics on your site. We'll also work with Google Reverse Image look-up to fact-check photos, and review other verification resources.

Breakout: Unconference 1

2 — 2:50 p.m., South Lobby

  • Speaker/session leader
  • TBA

Got a burning issue that hasn't been addressed? Pitch an unconference session prior to lunch on Saturday — organizers will pick three topics for informal discussions on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday afternoon coffee - 1

2:50 — 3:05 p.m., Lobby

Have a quick cup of coffee and chat with speakers and colleagues while you decide which breakout session to attend next.

Breakout A: Hard times

3:05 — 3:55 p.m., Breakout A

Forging ahead while weathering an economic downturn.

Breakout B: Nonprofit fundraising

3:05 — 3:55 p.m., Breakout B

How to build effective relationships with foundation, local donors and more.

Breakout C: Google MyMaps & Fusion Tables training

3:05 — 3:55 p.m., Breakout C

An overview of MyMaps, practical examples and hands-on work with building them. We'll also use Google Fusion Tables to creative interactive, embeddable graphics.

Breakout: Unconference 2

3:05 — 3:55 p.m., South Lobby

  • Speaker/session leader
  • TBA

Got a burning issue that hasn't been addressed? Pitch an unconference session prior to lunch on Saturday — organizers will pick three topics for informal discussions on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday afternoon coffee - 2

3:55 — 4:15 p.m., Lobby

Have a quick cup of coffee and chat with speakers and colleagues while you decide which breakout session to attend next.

Breakout A: Journalism & publishing judo

4:15 — 5:05 p.m., Breakout A

How to take advantage of a legacy competitor's biggest weaknesses — in reporting and publishing.

Breakout B: Covering local sports

4:15 — 5:05 p.m., Breakout B

Covering local sports for fun and profit.

Breakout C: Google Street View & Earth training

4:15 — 5:05 p.m., Breakout C

How to creative motion graphics in Google Earth and capture images. We'll also experiment with the Google Street View phone app in the field.

Breakout: Unconference 3

4:15 — 5:05 p.m., South Lobby

  • Speaker/session leader
  • TBA

Got a burning issue that hasn't been addressed? Pitch an unconference session prior to lunch on Saturday — organizers will pick three topics for informal discussions on Saturday afternoon.

Happy hour

5:05 — 6:30 p.m., Lobby

Have a drink from the hosted bar or have a relaxing cup of coffee and discuss the day.

Closing: Lessons learned

5:30 — 6:30 p.m., Lobby

What's the best tip you got this weekend? What project are you going to tackle when you get home? What's a great idea, but maybe not quite right for you? Let's have a group conversation.

Birds of a feather

6:30 — 11:59 p.m., Downtown Chicago

Out and about in downtown Chicago. Spend the evening with friends new and old, and keep the discussion going as you have fun in Chicago. Make dinner plans, catch the last night of regular season baseball at a bar, stroll around the city — relax and enjoy, you made it through the conference!

Highlights

In addition to valuable member panels offering practical advice and blueprints for revenue and journalism ideas that have worked elsewhere, LION has lined up an impressive roster of speakers. They will include advertising sales expert Eleanor Cippel, who has keynoted past LION conferences, as well as:

  • Tracie Powell of All Digitocracy speaking on how publishers who don't have "Amazon" behind their names can duplicate some of the things the Washington Post is doing
  • Jan Schaffer of J-Lab, discussing her recent surveys of media entrepreneurs
  • Mike Reilley of Google News Lab, conducting training on Google Trends, MyMaps and Fusion Tables, Google Earth, Street View and more
  • John Bracken, vice president of the Media Innovation Program of the Knight Foundation
  • Josh Stearns, associate director of the Public Square Program at the Democracy Fund
  • Jennifer Choi, program officer for journalism initiatives in the McCormick Foundation's Democracy Program
  • Teresa Schmedding of the American Copy Editors Society, with tips on how to verify stories and turn out clean copy
  • David Cuillier, the director of the University of Arizona School of Journalism and a past president of the Society of Professional Journalists, will break down effective techniques for pressing public records requests
  • Field Walsh of TXK Today, a LION member, on his success with producing video for news, event coverage and native advertising
  • Travis Smith of HOP Studios on the latest in the intersection between technology and online news
  • Steve Beatty of The Lens, a member of LION's Board of Directors, on partnering with national organizations to monetize content and find a bigger audience for it
  • Christopher Ali of the University of Virgina, discussing his research project, "Local News in a Digital World: Small Market Newspapers in an Age of Digital Disruption."
  • More sessions on advertising sales, management, community engagement and other need-to-know topics 

Other topics will include dozens of new advertising and alternative revenue ideas, native advertising, reaching minority and under-served communities, mobile solutions and more. Stay tuned for more info on speakers and sessions!

Not to mention, we promise plenty of good food and drink — a reception with a light dinner and drinks Thursday evening, continental breakfast and lunch on Friday and Saturday, as well as a reception with light food and drinks on Friday night. We'll also organize a few ventures out on the town for those who aren't familiar with Chicago.