LION is Hiring a Membership Research Consultant (Canada)

This contractor will help LION better understand and serve our Canadian members.

March 21, 2023 by Lisa Hunter

Photo by Life of Pix from Pexels
Photo by Life of Pix from Pexels

Request for Qualifications

Status: Independent contractor
Reporting to: Deputy Director

Project Type: Short-term contract, with variable working hours, from roughly May–October 2023

Compensation: $96,000 USD fixed rate, plus up to $5K in research expense reimbursements (An estimated 480 hours across six months, roughly 20 hours per week, at an effective rate of $200/hour).

About LION Publishers

Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit professional journalism association for independent news publishers. While most of our 450+ members across the U.S. and Canada run local news businesses, we also have members who serve larger regions and specific identity-based communities across geographies. LION provides teaching, resources and community to independent news entrepreneurs as they build and develop sustainable businesses. One of our core values is being people-centered, and here are some ways we build that culture for our staff. 

Project Summary

We’re looking for a Canadian-based contractor to help us map the independent news ecosystem in Canada, identify key Canadian funders and stakeholders and complete user research on the needs of independent news publishers in Canada. The goal of this project, done in collaboration with LION’s deputy director, will culminate in an analysis of the potential for LION to formally expand into Canada to help grow its independent news ecosystem. There will also be a budget available to this contractor to support research work.

Project Scope of Work


  • An updated list of local, independent digital news publications with basic data on each that will be added to our existing Oasis database. (Also serves as a list of prospective LION members in Canada) 
  • >1,000 word writeup that includes key data insights on this updated list of publishers in Canada, including an analysis of the local independent news landscape in Canada (More robust research/data report that’s part of Oasis comes in 2024)
  • A list of the major funders, support organizations and other key stakeholders/supporters of independent publishers in Canada and their roles. Also turn this into a post for Canadian members of government/foundation/other funding opportunities specifically in Canada.
  • A memo detailing the needs of Canadian independent news publishers based on 10-15 one-on-one interviews with Canadian publishers. The needs would be based on existing products/services that LION offers or new ones that LION could offer in the future.
  • A memo offering an analysis of the potential for the Canadian local independent news ecosystem to grow and any ways in which LION would need to adjust its membership criteria to facilitate that growth.


  • Within 60 days
    • Announces and launches research efforts in Canada
  • Within 120 days
    • Oasis database is up to date with existing independent news organizations in Canada, key research and a writeup providing data insights on Canada’s independent news landscape
  • Within 180 days
    • The ecosystem and publisher needs have been clearly defined through focused research and resource creation, and the memo offering an analysis on the potential for LION to formalize its help in Canada has been completed

LION is an Equal Opportunity Partner

LION believes that a team with diversity of backgrounds and experiences will generate the most innovative ideas and ultimately do the best work in support of our mission. This is why we welcome contractors, vendors, staff and board members who contribute to a diverse, equitable and inclusive work environment. We understand diversity as multi-dimensional and intersectional, encompassing race and ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, ability, class, geography, and more.

We know there are great candidates who might not check all the boxes listed below or who possess important skills we haven’t thought of. If that’s you, don’t hesitate to apply and tell us about yourself. 

Skills and Qualifications for The Project

  • Required:
    • You have direct experience working with or for an independent news publication based in Canada
    • You have deep knowledge of the existing independent news ecosystem in Canada and can suggest people, organizations and other key stakeholders to connect with
    • You’re a strategic thinker with experience with research design and execution, including user interviews, scraping existing websites for information, survey design and data analysis
    • You are a strong communicator and writer who can synthesize data and information into coherent research analysis and insights for public audiences
    • Demonstrates a high level of organization and clear communication with LION executive leadership staff about organizational vision and goals
  • Nice to have:
    • You have experience designing launch/expansion strategies that include a strong understanding of infrastructure and operations

Skills and Expectations for Collaboration with the LION Team

  • Work in a way that upholds and reflects our organizational values: Being data-informed, equitable and inclusive, people-centered, systems thinkers, transparent and iterative
  • Use digital tools and platforms to stay organized, communicate transparently, and collaborate with team members remotely 
  • Collaborate strategically with others, clearly defining processes for decision making
  • Give and receive constructive feedback to help the team produce its best work
  • Celebrate our wins and learning moments
  • Take on an experimental mindset and demonstrate flexibility to iterate on our work, systems, and processes 
  • Be willing and able to ask for help when needed, and demonstrate an ability to learn and grow

Application Requirements

Submit your materials using this form by April 9, 2023Applications have closed.

  • Your resume/portfolio
  • What experience do you have working with or for an independent news business in Canada?
  • What research experience do you have? Provide relevant links to websites, reports, etc.
  • How would you measure your success in completing this project?
  • What is your preferred way of working with the LION team in terms of frequency of communication, type of communication and your general availability?
  • What questions would you ask the LION executive team about this project before committing to this contract?

If you have questions about this project, reach out to Deborah Brown at [email protected]

Sign up for the weekly newsletter

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