Southeast News Sustainability Meetup & LION Awards Ceremony and Dinner


The Southeast Meetup and 2023 LION Awards took place on Oct. 3-4, 2023. Read a recap of the event.

Join us for two days of community, connection, and celebration!

Southeast News Sustainability Meetup

Our Southeast News Sustainability Meetup is a regional event for independent newsroom leaders, funders, and supporters from the Southeastern states to connect with and learn from one another. The Southeast Meetup will take place in Durham, North Carolina, from Tuesday, Oct. 3 to Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. Attendees will have ample opportunity to network with peers, gain new knowledge and industry insights, and perhaps most importantly, celebrate the excellent work of local, independent news organizations from across the country and Canada.

LION’s 2023 News Sustainability Meetups and the 2023 LION Awards are generously sponsored by The Walton Family Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Carol Oppenheim & Jerome Lamet Charitable Fund, the Google News Initiative, Microsoft, and News Revenue Hub.


LION Awards Ceremony and Dinner

The LION Local Journalism Awards Ceremony and Dinner is a staple of the Southeast Meetup, taking place Tuesday evening and recognizing dozens of LION members making significant strides toward sustainability. Award finalists are highly encouraged to attend the LION Awards Ceremony and Dinner and the entire Southeast Meetup, regardless of where their business is based. The ceremony and dinner is also open to all attendees of the Southeast Meetup, and you do not need to be a LION member to attend. Tickets are sold separately for each event, so be sure to snag seats for both!

The LION Local Journalism Awards recognize excellence by local independent online news businesses in award categories focused on LION’s pillars of sustainability — journalistic impact, financial health, and operational resilience. 

Meet the finalists of the 2023 LION Local Journalism Awards.


Check back often for updates to our schedule. Additional event highlights will be announced soon! All sessions and events will take place at The Cookery in Durham, North Carolina.

Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023

11:30 a.m. | Registration (doors open)

12:30 to 1:30 p.m. | Welcome Lunch and Stepping Away From the Journalism
Navigating the tactical, practical, and emotional process of shifting
from doing the journalism to running the business

1:30 to 2:30 p.m. | Making Connections
Enjoy coffee and tea, and facilitated networking. Affinity Groups will meet during this time

2:30 to 3:30 p.m. | Demystifying the Revenue Funnel
Outlining real-world tactics and timelines
for getting your revenue to consistently flow

2:30 to 3:30 p.m. | From Scrappy to Structured
Managing the operational and cultural aspects of organizational change

4 to 5:30 p.m. | Welcome Reception

5:30 to 8:30 p.m. | LION Local Journalism Awards Ceremony and Dinner
Hosted by Outlier Media's Candice Fortman and LION's own Lisa Heyamoto

Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023

10 a.m. | Registration (doors open)

11 a.m. to 12 p.m. | Making the Case
Strategies for communicating your mission and values
when your news business intentionally doesn't fit the mold

12:15 to 1:15 p.m. | Lunch and Keynote Q&A
The Press Forward recently announced that it has raised $500 million in funding commitments
for local journalism, and this session will be an early and exclusive opportunity
for LION members to learn about the details of the initiative and ask questions

1:30 to 2:15 p.m. | Table Talks and Networking
Connect with other news leaders from your state

2:30 to 3 p.m. | Closing Conversations and Conclusions
Meeting highlights and key takeaways

Session Details

Click on each session below to read more about our program offerings, including the session descriptions, speaker bios, and more.

Purchase Tickets

Your ticket to the Southeast Meetup includes two catered lunches, coffee and tea, and an opening reception. Your ticket to the LION Awards Ceremony and Dinner includes a seated dinner.


Our Springhill Suites Durham City View room block has been filled; however, regular-rate rooms are still available. We’ve also developed a list of other accommodations in the area. Under the FAQ section on our website, you can find information about the  Residence Inn by Marriott DurhamAloft Durham DowntownUnscripted, and The Durham Hotel.


Here are some answers to our most commonly asked questions. Have a question that isn't covered? You can always reach us at [email protected]. Email us and we'll gladly help you out!


Our sponsors make the 2023 Southeast News Sustainability Meetup and LION Local Journalism Awards possible. If you're interested in sponsorship, please contact Chris Krewson at [email protected].

Presenting Sponsors

The Walton Family Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Carol Oppenheim & Jerome Lamet Charitable Fund

Platinum Sponsor 

Google News Initiative

Gold Sponsor


Bronze Sponsor

News Revenue Hub