How to become a LION member
LION Publishers helps our 500+ members across the U.S. and Canada build and run stronger independent news businesses.
We know the unique challenges and opportunities that independent local newsrooms face because we work hand in hand with these publishers, providing 850+ hours of coaching, training and consulting along with $1.8 million in direct funding in 2022 alone.
Learn more about LION and the programs we offer, and read about our other membership benefits below.
To become a LION member, you must complete a membership application and pay annual dues corresponding to your organization's revenue tier.
What are LION's membership tiers?
LION introduced a new membership tier in December 2022 to make membership more affordable for our smallest publishers. The “Micro” tier replaced the "Aspiring Entrepreneur" tier for publishers earning less than $50,000 in annual revenue, as well as for prospective news entrepreneurs that have not yet started earning revenue.
The updated tiers and pricing are as follows:
- Micro Tier for news publishers earning less than $50,000 in annual revenue | Membership dues: $140/year
- Small Tier for news publishers earning between $50,000 and $500,000 in annual revenue | Membership dues: $210/year
- Medium Tier for news publishers earning between $500,000 and $1,100,000 in annual revenue | Membership dues: $280/year
- Large Tier for news publishers earning more than $1,100,000 in annual revenue | Membership dues: $550/year
We continue to grant dues forgiveness upon request for members who earn less than $4,200 in annual revenue. If your organization fits this criteria, please check the appropriate box on the LION membership application to request dues forgiveness.
Am I eligible to become a LION member?
What benefits are included in my membership?
Direct funding, consulting and coaching
Our programs provide LION members with essential support to help them build more sustainable businesses. In 2022, that support included:
- Personalized business advice and training through the LION-GNI Sustainability Audits and Funding program and our three GNI Startups Lab programs
- $1.8 million in direct funding to help members make investments in their financial health and operational resilience
- One-on-one revenue coaching with experienced news business leaders
Eligibility for the LION Local Journalism Awards
We honored 45 winners and finalists at the 2022 LION Local Journalism Awards ceremony in Austin – and gave out a record $68,000 in prize money. Only LION members will be eligible to enter this year’s awards competition when entries open in spring 2023.
Professional development through the News Entrepreneur Academy
The beta version of the News Entrepreneur Academy launched in June 2022, and we’ve since added more than 15 self-guided courses on topics such as creating a revenue growth plan and understanding the basics of accounting.
Exclusive member meetups and discounts to all LION events
Building on the success of the Independent News Sustainability Summit, we plan to host two regional meetups in 2023 for members to connect in person. We’ll also continue to organize LION Lessons and other virtual workshops around topics that members tell us are their top priorities.
Peer support from the LION community
LION has always been, first and foremost, a community of publishers facing shared challenges together. To build on the peer learning that already happens organically, we plan to pilot a Community Ambassador Program in 2023 that will help members build stronger ties with other publishers in their region.
LION members will also have continued access to a members-only channel in the News Entrepreneur Community Slack group, and they’ll receive exclusive opportunities and member news in the LION newsletter.
Discounts on fiscal sponsorship, media liability insurance and software tools
Tiny News Collective offers discounted fiscal sponsorship to LION members. A custom media liability insurance program is available to LION members based in the U.S., and we share other discounts and opportunities as they come available, including:
Does LION offer dues forgiveness?
Yes, LION currently offers dues forgiveness for publishers earning less than $4,200 annually.
If your organization fits this criteria, please check the appropriate box on the LION membership application to request dues forgiveness.