LION is hiring Sustainability Audit analysts

We’re looking for industry experts to holistically assess 12 publications each

December 13, 2023 by Elaine Díaz Rodríguez

LION Sustainability Audit Analyst 

Status: Independent Contractor

Point of Contact: Associate Director of Coaching

Location: Remote within U.S. and Canada

Engagement Type: Short-term contract, with variable working hours, from February 2 until December 13, 2024.

Compensation: Flat rate of $16,000 for a total of 12 audits. $4,000 may be invoiced upon completing the deliverables for each of the four cycles.

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 500+ 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.

Project Summary

LION Publishers has created a Sustainability Audit program that assesses a news organization’s strengths, opportunities, and priorities to become a sustainable news business. Our theory is that sustainability for independent news businesses exists at the intersection of operational resilience, financial health, and journalistic impact, and foundational weaknesses in any of these areas can cause the entire operation to (at best) underperform or (at worst) fall apart.

In 2022 and 2023, we audited 175 newsrooms through the Sustainability Audit program. You can read more about that iteration and what our experts learned here.

This year, we’re looking for audit analysts to assess three publications each per cycle. We will be conducting four cycles in 2024. See dates below.

The audit analysts will:

  • Read our analyst guidelines and participate in an initial 30-minute onboarding meeting to understand expectations, ask questions, and sync with other analysts
  • For each cycle:
    • Familiarize themselves with each publication through online research
    • Gain a deeper understanding of each publication via a dossier, which contains background information, audit questionnaire answers, relevant internal documents, and benchmarking data
    • Schedule and conduct 90-minute interviews with the leaders of each publication to gain relevant context and details
    • Attend an optional 60-minute working session to ask questions related to drafting the final report
    • Analyze the information from the dossier and interview to draft a publication-facing report for each publication, which includes:
      • A summary of where the publication is on its path to sustainability
      • A selection of its strengths and how to capitalize on them
      • A prioritized list of recommended actions to take immediately, in the short term and in the medium term, to become more sustainable
    • Work with LION to incorporate feedback into the report draft, either asynchronously or synchronously
    • Schedule and conduct a 30-minute follow-up call with the leaders of each publication to talk through the final report
  • Complete an offboarding survey to inform future programs

We anticipate that each audit will take 8-9 hours to complete, assuming that an analyst is completing three audits per cycle for a total of 12 audits.

The approximate dates for each cycle are:

  • Cycle 1: February 2 – May 1, 2024
  • Cycle 2: May 2 – July 12, 2024
  • Cycle 3: July 22 – October 1, 2024
  • Cycle 4: October 1 – December 13, 2024 

Our ideal audit analyst is someone who:

  • Has deep experience running or working with independent news startups 
  • Is eager to share their knowledge, skills, and advice with LION members
  • Would enjoy the opportunity to learn about and learn from independent news leaders
  • Is comfortable making recommendations that range from big picture strategic thinking to specific tactical approaches, but knows they don’t need to be an expert in everything and can curate the LION community, industry knowledge, and their networks to help publications prioritize
  • Is available to participate in all four cycles

Application materials

Submit your materials using this form by 11 p.m. ET on January 7. You will be asked to provide:

  • Your resume
  • Any online links that show your work (an X profile, a portfolio page, etc.) and/or discuss your work (a website, program description, article/post, report, etc.)
  • Answers to the following questions:
    • Why are you interested in becoming an analyst?
    • Describe your experience running or working with independent news organizations. What was your role? What did you learn that you might apply when working with participants in the Sustainability Audit program?
    • Tell us about a time when you assessed a body of information, identified patterns and throughlines, and created actionable recommendations. What was your process, and how did you communicate your findings?

If you have questions about this role, reach out to LION Associate Director of Coaching Elaine Díaz ([email protected]) to learn more.

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