McBride, Gilfillan elected to LION Publishers Board

Two new members have been elected to the LION Publishers Board of Directors, publisher Suzanne McBride and managing

October 22, 2013 by Dylan Smith


Two new members have been elected to the LION Publishers Board of Directors, publisher Suzanne McBride and managing partner Kelly Gilfillan.

The pair were elected unanimously by the Board to three-year terms, filling out the leadership of Local Independent Online News Publishers to a full complement of 13 Directors.

"I'm excited about joining the Board of LION Publishers, whose work is so critical to the future of local news," said McBride, the associate chair of the Journalism Department at Columbia College Chicago, where she teaches community news and investigative reporting.

Gilfillan, who co-founded, and in suburban Nashville, Tenn., said, "LION has been integral to BrentWord Communications' success. Co-founder Susan Leathers and I continue to be inspired by our peer publishers, their integrity and ingenuity. We are both proud to be a part of the organization."

"We're tremendously pleased that these talented publishers are stepping up to work on behalf of our membership," said Dylan Smith, LION's Board Chairman. "Their wide-ranging experiences and deep commitment to quality local news are a great asset to our organization."

McBride and Gilfillan made their decisions to join the Board of the nonprofit educational group after the success of the inaugural LION Summit in Chicago earlier this month.

"We were honored to host LION's conference at Columbia College Chicago in October, and I look forward to working with the rest of the Board in helping our over 110 members flourish," McBride said.

"More than ever, LION is important," said Gilfillan, commenting on her eagerness to work for her fellow members, who "have helped us make some important decisions."

"As publishers, we have to support each other by sharing our triumphs and our failures," she said. "Together, our braintrust of ideas and experience will lead us all to successful businesses. Local is proving to be a viable business model but more importantly, LION members have the heart to bring the most important news to their audience — local news."

The pair bring to LION's leadership a diverse set of experiences that reflects the breadth of the national organization's membership. LION Publisher's nearly 115 members include the publishers of both for- and nonprofit news sites across the Untid States, ranging from rural towns and urban neighborhoods to regional news sites.

In addition to her academic work with Columbia College Chicago, McBride is a co-founder of and the founder and publisher of, which covers Chicago's West Side. Since launching in spring 2010, AustinTalks has published hundreds of stories, won two Chicago Headline Club awards and connected thousands of West Siders, including some of its youngest residents, with each other.

McBride worked for more than 15 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before she began teaching at Columbia in 2005, including stints at the The Indianapolis Star and the now-defunct Indianapolis News, the Terre Haute Tribune-Star and The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Suzanne also worked for the NBC affiliate (Channel 13) in Indianapolis and as a legislative aide in Washington, D.C., for an Ohio congressman. In 2012, she worked on a project in Dublin, Ireland, seeks to remove the "media desert" surrounding the city's disadvantaged Liberties neighborhood.

Gilfillan's resume includes managing and marketing a start-up occupational health center; working as a hospital assistant marketing director; seven years of freelance medical technical writing for professors, facilities and charities; and various media sales positions.

She graduated from Belmont University with a BBA emphasis in Marketing. She oversees the business, marketing and sales management of BrentWord Communications' three news websites.

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