LION Publishers Board introduces new vice chair, secretary, treasurer

A new year means new incoming leadership for the board of LION Publishers, the national nonprofit serving local news entrepreneurs.

Joining Board Chair Kelly Gilfillan will be Jay Allred, President, of Richland Source, voted in as vice chair at the Dec. 19 board meeting.

“Jay and his team at Richland Source are a great example of how local independent publishers can grow a media business through entrepreneurism, solid people, innovation and taking risks,” said Gilfillan, publisher at Home Page Media Group, a division of FW Publishing. Gilfillan has been a member of LION’s board since 2013, and chair since 2018. Under her leadership, the organization was awarded $1 million by the Knight Foundation to strengthen the sustainability of news outlets delivering strong local independent news coverage.

“LION has been instrumental in the growth of Richland Source,” Allred said. “Access to the network LION provides to members allowed us to believe we were part of something far bigger than ourselves. It was like we went from doing addition to multiplication. I want to see LION concentrate on this unique effect it can have on members, and do it in a way that includes independent publishers of all kinds, reaching diverse and varied audiences across the country.”

The Board also voted in a new secretary, nominating and electing Rose Hoban, founder and editor of North Carolina Health News, who’s served on the board since 2017. Hoban replaces Charlotte-Anne Lucas, who served a full four-year term.

“I’m really looking forward to digging deeper into governance of this vital organization,” Hoban said. “Now more than ever, we need LION to help journalists rebuild a decimated local media ecosystem.”

Jan Schaffer, founder and director of J-Lab, joined the board as treasurer in October, replacing Doug Hardy, the co-owner and business manager of CTNewsJunkie.com.

Schaffer, Hoban, Allred and Gilfillan are joined on the executive committee by Dylan Smith, the founder of LION Publishers and the organization’s immediate past chair.

Additionally, Tracie Powell, program officer at Borealis Philanthropy, founder of AllDigitocracy.com, and a LION board member since 2018, will lead a new board development committee. This group will work to strengthen LION Publishers by identifying criteria and recruiting qualified candidates for the Board of Directors and its committees, including finance, governance and others that may arise. Currently, LION Publishers’ board has four open slots.

“LION Publishers was founded with the mission of championing community-focused independent online news publishers,” Powell said. “With appreciation for what began a decade ago, we recommit to the promises we’ve made to supporting all independent publishers. That includes publishers of color, publishers in low-wealth communities, university-based publishers filling the gap in information deserts created when the daily newspaper that used to serve their communities disappear, and others that can easily be overlooked. LION is recommitting itself to looking like the communities we serve. I look forward to helping to lead that charge.”

“The board is grateful that Jan, Jay, Rose and Tracie are willing to make this commitment and bring their diversified backgrounds and spirit of leadership and innovation to LION,” Gilfillan added.

LION Publishers is a journalism association supporting independent local online news publishers. Our mission is to help local news entrepreneurs build and grow financially sustainable small businesses. Learn more about our team.