Thanks to the Google News Initiative, LION members who participate in our Sustainability Audits program will each qualify for up to $20,000 –– up from last year’s $6,000 –– to fund the implementation of audit recommendations as part of this and next year’s programs.
This significant funding helps publishers assess their news businesses and prioritize steps toward stability and growth by acting on strategic recommendations. The program is supported by the GNI and the Knight Foundation, which are funding 100 Sustainability Audits and Audit Boosters in each of the years 2023, 2024 and 2025. Audit Boosters offer a check-in on progress to sustainability alongside updated recommendations.
In addition, any LION member who participated in 2022’s GNI Sustainability Audits and Funding Program may apply for this new tranche of funding. Since the start of this program and by the end of this year, at least 360 LION members will receive Sustainability Audit funding.
“This kind of support comes at a critical time for these small businesses, which have been doing essential work filling communities’ information needs,” said Chris Krewson, LION Publishers Executive Director. “We’re grateful to the Google News Initiative for their continued support, and for this incredible increase in support for our sector. It means the world to our members and their ability to continue this work.”
“Local news organizations are an essential source of information for their communities,” said Chrissy Towle, Director of News Partnerships, Americas at Google. “We’re happy to continue our support of LION and its members, helping local publications to flourish so that they can continue their vital work.”
The investment is part of the GNI’s announced support of four other news associations including the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), National Association of Hispanic Press (NAHP), Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) and Institute for Nonprofit News (INN).
The GNI’s program investments are intended to support smaller publishers; around 80% of these member publications have 10 or fewer employees. Overall, it aims to support 1,000 diverse local publications.
DETAILS / FAQ
Is my organization eligible to receive this funding?
Eligible news businesses must meet the following criteria:
- Incorporated or operating in the U.S.
- Operating with a digital product (website, newsletter, etc.) for at least 12 months before applying to the program
- A LION member for at least six months before applying to the program
Funding is conditional on participation in either the Sustainability Audits and Funding program in 2023 or 2024, or, if you received a Sustainability Audit in 2022, in the 2023 Sustainability Audits Booster program (see details in the FAQ below). Organizations who received a Sustainability Audit in 2021 are eligible to participate in the Sustainability Audits and Funding program in 2023 or 2024.
Not all eligible organizations will receive funding. Eligible organizations can only receive the funding once.
My organization is based in Canada. Can I still access this funding through LION programming?
Yes, you may apply to the Sustainability Audits and Funding program and be eligible for $20,000 in funding.
I participated in the Sustainability Audits program in 2022. How can I access this funding?
If you participated in the Sustainability Audit program in 2022, you must participate in the Sustainability Booster program in 2023 to be eligible for this funding. Details about this program will be announced soon, and you will receive an email with details about participation in August. The Sustainability Booster program offers a condensed sustainability “check up,” which should require less than 3 hours of time to complete.
If you access this funding through the 2023 Sustainability Booster program, you will not be eligible to receive additional funding if you participate in a 2024 Sustainability Audit.
Organizations who participated in the 2022 Sustainability Audit program that do not meet the eligibility criteria stated above will still be eligible to access comparable funding from a different source.
I didn’t participate in the Sustainability Audit program in 2022. How can I access this funding?
If you did not participate in the 2022 Sustainability Audit program, you must apply to and be selected for the Sustainability Audit program in 2023 or 2024. Applications for 2023 are open until August 28. Slight preference will be given in 2024 to organizations who apply but are not selected to participate in 2023.
How will funding be distributed?
Organizations who participated in the 2022 Sustainability Audit program will receive $20,000 after completing the Sustainability Booster program.
Organizations who participate in the 2023 and 2024 Sustainability Audit program will receive $20,000 after completing the program.
Buy an early bird ticket for the 2024 Independent News Sustainability Summit in Chicago
Members who purchase an early bird ticket will be entered to win a raffle for a free hotel room upgrade.
Become a LION community ambassador to help connect and support independent news publishers
Community ambassadors will facilitate connections and community-building with fellow LION members.
43 LION members selected for Sustainability Audit’s 2024 February-April cycle
Publishers will receive expert guidance and $20,000 in direct funding.