It’s no surprise that one of our members’ most common challenges is an unsustainable workload. What may be surprising is this: Independent news businesses that experience sustainable workloads are more likely to have more well-established operational and financial processes in place despite usually being smaller and younger.
That insight is based on data we gathered from 100 LION member publishers through our GNI Sustainability Audits and Funding program last year.
– Dylan Sanchez, LION’s research and evaluation associate
Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here!
Meet our 2023 community ambassadors
We’ve selected 24 independent news leaders across the United States as part of our community ambassador program, which helps LION members build regional networks and share resources and knowledge with each other.
Over the next couple of months, our community ambassadors will reach out to local independent news organizations in their assigned region as a part of Project Oasis, an initiative to map the growing digital, local, independent media landscape. Community ambassadors will also share information with their regional communities about industry support opportunities, including LION’s resources and offerings.
Learn more about the program and who will lead each region here.
– Samantha Matsumoto, LION’s community engagement manager
8 resources and opportunities for independent publishers
1. Kick-start your news startup in Kansas by applying for the Wichita Foundation’s Info Challenge. In partnership with the Tiny News Collective, this program will identify and support three early-stage or new information startups serving the Wichita area. (Applications open starting Sept. 6)
2. Apply for the Google News Initiative (GNI) Pre-launch Lab, an eight-week, free, and fully remote program for early-stage journalism entrepreneurs. The Lab will support up to 24 participants in launching digital news efforts that are trustworthy, community-responsive, and financially sustainable. (Apply by Sept. 22)
3. Attend Radically Rural’s 6th Annual Summit in Keene, New Hampshire to learn about strategic opportunities for transformation in rural communities. (Sept. 27-28)
4. Apply for the Local Media Foundation’s 2023 Local News Fund Program. Participants will work with LMF on campaigns to solicit tax-deductible donations from their communities. (Apply by Oct. 1)
5. Attend our Southeast News Sustainability Meetup. This event in Durham, North Carolina, features keynote presentations, breakout sessions, roundtable discussions, and networking opportunities, as well as our annual LION Local Journalism Awards Ceremony. (Oct. 3-4)
6. Get your grant writing on. Participate in Community Grantwriters’ “A Map to Successful Grantwriting,” a virtual, three-week program on best practices for accessing philanthropic funding. (Starts on Oct. 4)
7. Tackle a major strategic business challenge by participating in The New Jersey Civic Information Consortium’s Technology & Sustainability Accelerator. Up to 20 New Jersey news organizations will be part of a nine-month, team-based experience to find a better path toward sustainability. (Apply by Oct. 14)
8. Take the next step in your news career. Apply for the News Product Alliance’s News Product Management Certification (NPMC), a rigorous, part-time, and virtual program for mid to senior-level news professionals looking to bolster product development and innovation skills. (Apply by Nov. 3)
What we’re reading
Activity ≠ achievement. Why we’re obsessed with being busy and how to overcome the urge to maintain unnecessary momentum. (Harvard Business Review)
A slow climb. Why Press Forward’s $500M investment in local journalism is a good start, but we still have a long journey ahead. (Nieman Reports)
Is the bootstrap concept broken? Why public service journalism should be treated as a cornerstone of democracy that deserves public funding. (Medium)
A timely transition. Why City Bureau is seeking a single executive director after eight successful years of co-leadership. (City Bureau)
LIONs in the news
We love it when our members score big wins –– and MLK50 takes the cake this week. They’ve been awarded a $900,000 grant from the Skyline Foundation that will be used to deepen their reporting around core coverage topics. The grant is MLK50’s second-largest multiyear investment to date.
“For news organizations such as MLK50, which started with no seed funding, multiyear commitments are crucial to sustainability,” said Wendi C. Thomas, MLK50’s founding editor and publisher. “We’re excited to begin to build stronger relationships in neighborhoods that have withered because of chronic disinvestment.”
You can read more about their exciting news below.
- The Baltimore Beat, The Kansas City Defender, MLK50, and Scalawag are featured in an article about how “The new Black press is changing the game,” highlighting how these newsrooms are defying the odds and defining the new Black press.
- The Maine Monitor won a two-year legal fight after a Maine judge ruled that documents, which show whether a county jail recorded private attorney-client phone calls, are public records.
- Austin Vida’s Nancy Flores is a finalist for the HABLA Con Orgullo Award, which celebrates the leadership and impacts of Latinos in Austin, Texas.
- The Colorado Sun is pivoting to a nonprofit model after experimenting for five years as a for-profit/nonprofit hybrid.
How to reach us
When you reply to this email, we all receive it and you’ll hear back from one of us. You can also email us directly at [email protected].