LION receives $1 million commitment from Knight Foundation to bolster local news

News release

Contact: Kelly Gilfillan, kellygilfillan@lionpublishers.com

Miami — March 31 — The Local Independent Online News Publishers organization has been awarded a three-year, $1 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the philanthropy announced today.

The grant will allow LION to expand its staff with experts to train its nearly 250 members on  core issues to sustain local publishing. These include business coaching, revenue development, peer learning, advertising, membership programs, and shared technology services.

“Local news is the key to strong communities and a healthy democracy,” said Kelly Gilfillan, chair of LION’s board of directors. “This generous grant will not only benefit and guide our current members, but we’ll be able to encourage journalists and entrepreneurs to start new newsrooms in cities and towns across the country where local coverage has been slashed.”

Knight Foundation also announced grants to the Institute for Nonprofit News and the News Revenue Hub, two other nonprofit organizations working to revitalize local news. Both organizations presented at the annual LION summit in Chicago in 2018, furthering LION’s collaboration with these critical partners.

Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism, said the three organizations can make local news stronger through the inclusion of previously marginalized communities.

“We want to see them support not only existing nonprofit news sites, but more and more startups led by people of color and others whose voices have been missing from traditional media.”

This dovetails with LION’s new commitment to expanding its membership criteria to specifically include ethnic media, including legacy print publications shifting to digital; public media; niche publications; and university-based local news initiatives.

As the leading funder of journalism and media innovation in the country, these grants further Knight’s commitment to fostering more informed and engaged communities. They are part of a $300 million Knight initiative announced in February, focused on the future of local news and information.

LION will hold its annual conference in Nashville, Oct. 24-26.

About LION Publishers

It is the mission of Local Independent Online News Publishers to foster the viability and excellence of locally focused independent online news organizations and cultivate their connections to their communities through education and action. It was founded in 2012 when a small group of like-minded publishers gathered in Chicago, and has since grown to nearly 250 members in 47 states. To learn more, visit lionpublishers.com

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org