As editors and publishers from around the United States gather at the LION Summit, the importantance of local news all over the world will be reinforced by a group of about a dozen journalists from Norway.
Sponsored by the Norwegian Institute of Journalism (an organization with perhaps the shortest URL ever), the managers from small news outlets around that Scandinavian nation will join LION members from the U.S. and Canada, and attendees from other countries, in discussing how to effectively rebuild local journalism.
The group first sent a delegation to the LION conference in 2016, and has repeated that in the years since. In spring 2018, LION chairman Dylan Smith was invited to speak at the annual conference of Landslaget for lokalaviser —Norway's Local Newspaper Association — in Bodø, north of the Arctic Circle.
"Norway has a large number of small newspapers (circulation 1,000 – 5,000), serving communities all over the country," said Asgeir Olden, associate director of Institutt for Journalistikk. "They are all on print (and on the Internet), and most of them have done remarkably well in a period when larger newspapers have struggled, particularly when it comes to circulation."
"Ad revenue has, however, dropped steadily, making the financial situation difficult for many. All of them are looking for new business models and tricks and tips of the trade," Olden said. "The LION conference is an opportunity to learn how net-based local media find niches, business opportunities and ways to survive."
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