Learn with LION

About LION's Training Programs

Sustainability Audits: A detailed assessment of your news business, with expert recommendations and resources to help enhance your organization’s sustainability. The Sustainability Audit is most beneficial for news publishers that have been operating for at least six months. Applications are now open for 2024!

News Entrepreneur Community: Join our vibrant Slack community of news publishers and aspiring entrepreneurs to ask questions and participate in conversations about the independent local news industry and what it takes to grow and sustain a news business. While some channels are members-only, others are open to anyone interested in news entrepreneurship.

News Entrepreneur Academy: A learning hub with practical training, resources, and case studies to help news publishers navigate common challenges in launching, growing, and sustaining a thriving news business. The NEA is accessible to LION members only.

GNI Startups Playbook: Created by LION and the Google News Initiative, the Playbook demystifies the process of launching a news startup and helps founders build a business that’s operationally resilient, financially viable, and journalistically impactful. This comprehensive must-read is broken into six chapters and offers four starter guides on specific topics that you’ll need to consider once your product is launched.

News Founder Challenge: If you’re feeling intimidated by the Playbook and want a simplified primer to get started, try this six-week, self-guided course to help you put your news business idea to the test. We’ll send you one email each week with actionable advice from the Playbook and a challenge to complete by the following week. Once you complete all six challenges, you can sign up for a one-on-one consulting session with LION to discuss your idea and a plan for next steps.

LION Tools and Services Directory: LION regularly hears from its members that it's helpful to know what tools and services they might use to build, manage, and grow their news businesses. While LION does not endorse any particular tools or services, we have compiled ones we've heard of or that members have told us they like across various business categories.

Project Oasis Report and Database: Project Oasis seeks to map and showcase the growing number of locally focused digital news publications in the U.S. and Canada. The report highlights information about the choices local independent news organizations are making on their paths to sustainability.

Sustainability Lab: Unblocking Revenue Barriers: Developed in partnership with the Google News Initiative and building on the success of our Startups Labs, the Sustainability Lab was an eight-week program in late 2023 intended to help independent news organizations identify and address blockers to their revenue goals. Participants received asynchronous training, one-on-one coaching, peer learning, and $9,000 in funding.

News Guest: This podcast offers practical advice on how to build a stronger, more sustainable news business.


Weekly tip sheet for news entrepreneurs

Join the LION mailing list to get our weekly roundup of opportunities and resources for news entrepreneurs delivered to your inbox. View our most recent issues.


“The LION/GNI Boot Camp has been pivotal to the development of my media startup and my growth as a founder. The instruction is enlightening; the coaching is propelling; the access to resources, generous; and the community is both inspiring and supportive. My company is better because of this boot camp—and so am I.”

Travers Johnson

“I have never been around such a devoted and visionary group of writers and reporters. I have been pushed to embrace my own vision and passions in a way that I expect will propel me forward with strength and clarity.”

Filiberto Nolasco Gomez
The Incarcerated

"As a news founder without a journalism or communications background, the News Founder Challenge took me through the core of every milestone necessary to design a solid news project. From idea to execution, the examples given were current, the resources diverse, and the feedback after the challenge was prompt and encouraging. This challenge will give you a clear yes or no, on moving forward with your idea for a news business."

Melina Olmo
News Founder Challenge Participant

“This boot camp, its community, resources, and guidance, has given me the validation and confidence that what I’m attempting to do is possible, it’s valuable, and I’m absolutely the one to be doing it.”

Minda Honey

“The GNI/LION Boot Camp was the most enriching journalism training program I've participated in...I have tools, a roadmap, and the kind of entrepreneurial thinking to know which steps to even take and when to take them, as I work to get my local news startup off the ground."

Stacy Feldman
Boulder Reporting Lab

Previous Programs

  • 2022 GNI Startups Labs: In partnership with GNI, LION offered three, eight-week Labs featuring learning, coaching, and funding related to financial and risk management, hiring and personnel management, and revenue growth. Here are our takeaways from each Lab.
  • Google News Initiative Startups Lab (2021): A six-month program for 10 news businesses featuring assessment, coaching, and financial support to help publishers improve operational and financial sustainability. Read the latest update here.
  • Google News Initiative Startup Boot Camp (2020–2022): An eight-week program to help aspiring entrepreneurs refine and launch their idea for a news startup. To date, 59 entrepreneurs have graduated from the Boot Camp to launch a news startup. Read about our alum from 2020, 2021 and 2022 (coming soon). 
  • LION-Meta Revenue Growth Fellowship (2021–2023): A two-year program for 12 news businesses that received funding to hire someone into a revenue role. LION also provides training and coaching to the cohort, with the ultimate goal of making each fellow’s position revenue-positive for their organization. Read the latest update here.
  • Tiny News Collective: In partnership with News Catalyst, LION helped launch the first cohort of the Tiny News Collective with six publishers, providing tools, resources, and training to help founders build sustainable news organizations that reflect and serve their communities. TNC is best suited for aspiring news entrepreneurs in the process of launching their news businesses.