Boot camp for new publishers featured at 2018 LION Summit

The country’s largest gathering of local independent online news publishers will kick off this year with a full-day “boot camp”

September 2, 2018 by LION Publishers


The country’s largest gathering of local independent online news publishers will kick off this year with a full-day “boot camp” for new publishers and idea-stage local news entrepreneurs.

The 2018 LION Summit Oct. 11-13 at Columbia College in Chicago will feature three full days of presentations, workshops and discussion about sustainable local news business models, revenue, journalism, technology, audience development and engagement.

The New Publisher Boot Camp will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11, and is free with conference registration.

With support from the Knight Foundation, the boot camp is presented by LION and the Institute for Nonprofit News. It will be led by INN Director of Programs and Services Fran Scarlett and Ned Berke, a founding member of LION and former local independent online news publisher who now works with local news organizations on audience development.

It will feature Scarlett’s “Business Model Canvas” workshop, which walks publishers through strategic tools for creating a realistic and effective business plan. It has proven invaluable both to entrepreneurs still in the planning stage, and publishers who’ve already launched but are trying to find and execute on a sustainable model.

“Whether you're planning to launch a news product or expand your audience or just update your business plan, employing the Business Model Canvas is something you can do easily  to make sure your tactical moves take you where you need to get,” Scarlett said. “This session includes lot of practice plus you’ll leave with a tool you can use over and over in running an independent news business.”

Berke has been helping local independent online news publishers with audience development and navigation of social media platforms and SEO over the past year in partnership with LION, INN, the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University and Facebook. He is an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Tow Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at City University of New York.

He founded the local independent online news site Sheepshead Bites in 2008, and was one of the founding members of LION. He sold the site to Corner Media Group in 2014, and it eventually became part of

Scarlett is a business coach and director of programs and services for the Institute for Nonprofit News. Prior to INN, Fran served as the regional director of the Small Business & Technology Development Center at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She received her MBA from Harvard University and a B.S. in Mass Communications from Boston University.

Participants in this year’s boot camp are asked to commit to the entire session, as the program will be interactive and focused on walking you through your own business plan over the course of the day. Admission is free with conference admission, but advance registration is required using the form below.

Questions? Contact LION Executive Director Matt DeRienzo at [email protected].

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