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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."

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McBride, Gilfillan re-elected to LION Publishers Board

Two members of LION Publishers Board of Directors, AustinTalks.org publisher Suzanne McBride and BIGR Media COO Kelly Gilfillan, have been re-elected and will continue leading the nation's foremost group of local independent news publishers.

The pair were unanimously voted by the Board to three-year terms, filling out the leadership of Local Independent Online News Publishers. Their renewed terms were ratified by the membership at the annual meeting held at the 2016 LION Summit in Chicago.

The two have brought to LION's leadership a diverse set of experiences that reflects the breadth of the national organization's membership. LION Publisher's nearly 140 members include the publishers of both for- and nonprofit news sites across the United States, ranging from rural towns and urban neighborhoods to regional news sites.

"Following the LION conference, I came home inspired and full of hope for the state of local news," Gilfillan said. "Serving on the board, I look forward to helping our members grow their businesses and keeping local news a viable means of making a living for all LIONs."

"Readers from big cities to small towns are demanding information about their communities, and the 140-some members of LION are filling a critical need," McBride said. "My goal is to do all I can to nurture and support still more local news operators, especially in news deserts - those areas with little or no coverage."

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LION again joins 40 journalism orgs in pushing Obama on transparency

LION Publishers joined Monday with 40 national journalism groups in calling on President Obama – yet again – to stop practices in federal agencies that prevent important information from getting to the public.

"Obama may be leaving the White House, but we aren’t going anywhere. Our promise to the American people is to keep fighting for their right to know what their elected officials are up to," we said in a letter to the administration.

The organizations, including the Society of Professional Journalists, American Society of News Editors, Investigative Reporters & Editors and LION, sent a letter to Josh Earnest, the president's chief spokesman, urging changes to policies that constrict the flow of information to the public, including prohibiting journalists from communicating with staff without going through public information offices, requiring government PIOs to review interview questions and monitoring interviews between journalists and sources.

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2016 LION PRIDE industry survey

We're very pleased to announce the latest LION Publishers initiative: an in-depth research study of the business and editorial practices of our members.

The basis for the project is a comprehensive online survey of members of LION Publishers. The aggregate data collected will be shared with LION's membership to assist in a better understanding of our common challenges and help identify new opportunities. Selected anonymous data will be shared with the rest of the news industry and the public.

The survey includes questions on revenue, staffing, editorial priorities and more. It's intended to provide a baseline so we can measure progress and change in our segment of the industry.

The survey is only open to members of LION Publishers »

 Preliminary results will be presented at the 2016 LION Summit, with some details being fleshed out in follow-up interviews with selected publishers.

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2016 LION PRIDE industry survey

We're very pleased to announce the latest LION Publishers initiative: an in-depth research study of the business and editorial practices of our members: Publishers' Revenue Indicators, Demographics & Engagement

The basis for the project is a comprehensive online survey of members of LION Publishers. The aggregate data collected will be shared with LION's membership to assist in a better understanding of our common challenges and help identify new opportunities. Selected anonymous data will be shared with the rest of the news industry and the public.

The survey includes questions on revenue, staffing, editorial priorities and more. It's intended to provide a baseline so we can measure progress and change in our segment of the industry.

Read more »

LION Webinar 11: Local news revenue from email newsletters; Wrap your news business around a profitable email edition

In business, sometimes the answer is staring you in the face.

It's safe to say that a lot of web-based news organizations attempt to chase a 24/7 news cycle simply because they publish on the Internet. This can be problematic for one- or two-person operations and lead to burnout. You can't be a 24-hour news operation by yourself while also maintaining a steady effort to build revenue.

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LION Webinar 10: Native advertising for small news organizations

Native advertising is too valuable for independent publishers to ignore in today's independent news marketplace, where display advertising faces a slew of growing challenges. That was part of the message from Jaci Smith and Scott Brodbeck during Thursday's LION webinar, the 10th in the group's monthly series.

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