LION is Hiring Sustainability Audit Analysts

We’re looking for 11 industry experts to holistically assess 6 publications each

April 10, 2023 by Elaine Díaz Rodríguez

Status: Independent Contractor

Point of Contact: Senior Manager of Coaching

Location: Remote within USA and Canada

Engagement Type: Short-term contract, with variable working hours, from May 31 until November 30, 2023.

Compensation: Flat rate of $6,500 for a total of 6 audits. Half ($3,250) may be invoiced upon signing the contract and the other half may be invoiced upon completion of the final audit cycle.

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 400+ 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 that assesses a news organization’s strengths, opportunities and priorities along the path to becoming 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 one of these areas can cause the entire operation to (at best) underperform or (at worst) fall apart.

In 2022, we audited 100 newsrooms through the LION-GNI Sustainability Audits & Funding program. You can read more about that iteration as well as what our experts learned here.

This year, we’re looking for 11 Audit Analysts to audit 3 publications each per cycle. We will be launching two cycles, from May 31 until August 30 and from September 4 until November 30.

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 of the two cycles:
    • Familiarize themselves with each publication through online research
    • Gain a deeper understanding of each publication via a dossier, which contain 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.
  • Fill out an offboarding survey to inform future programs.

We anticipate that each audit will take 8-9 hours total to complete, with the assumption that an analyst is completing three audits per cycle, for a total of 6 audits.

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 program participants 
  • 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

Application materials

Submit your materials using this form by 11 p.m. Pacific time on April 26. You will be asked to provide:

  • Your resume
  • Any online links that show your work (a Twitter 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?
    • 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 Senior Manager of Coaching Elaine Díaz ([email protected]) to learn more.

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