🏆 An exciting 2024 LION Awards announcement


Over the last five years of running the LION Publishers Local Journalism Awards, we’ve celebrated our members’ transformational achievements as they progress toward becoming sustainable news organizations for their communities. 

At the LION Awards, we don’t just celebrate great journalism. We celebrate sustainable journalism built to last longer than one story or impactful series. 

That’s why, for our sixth annual LION Awards, we’re rebranding as the LION Publishers Sustainability Awards, and we’re excited to announce that we’ll accept entries beginning next Monday, March 4, through April 15.

The 2024 LION Awards will feature cash prizes for award winners, eight award categories, two recognition awards, one complimentary ticket for finalists to the LION Awards Ceremony & Dinner, and much more.

Check out our award categories, judging criteria, and eligibility requirements, and get ready to apply!

– Kelsey Wotzka, LION’s membership success manager

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2024 Summit and LION Awards

📢 Tickets are officially on sale for the 2024 Independent News Sustainability Summit and sixth annual LION Sustainability Awards Ceremony & Dinner. Join hundreds of independent news leaders in Chicago this September for two and a half days of learning and connection. Secure your seat and save on your ticket by registering by June 28. 

Shout out to LION member What’s Up Newp’s Ryan Belmore for being our first registrant, to Prison Journalism Project’s Yukari Kane for winning a scavenger hunt at our last event (and a free ticket to the Summit), and to the Reynolds Journalism Project for signing on as our first sponsor! 🥳


LION welcomes 18 new members

We’d like to warmly welcome all the new LION members who joined us this month, including Southpoint Access, Valley News and Fallbrook – Bonsall Village News, Nutfield Publishing, Deep South Today, The Vertical, CKIA FM 88.3, NepYork, CommonWealth Beacon, Winchester News, The Yonkers Ledger, CB Posts, Rough Draft Atlanta, Cloudcroft Reader, The Salt Lake Tribune, The Frame: Framingham News in Focus, Bangor Daily News, Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk, and Voice of San Diego.

Interested in becoming a LION member? Check out our membership benefits, and feel free to contact us at [email protected] with questions.


10 resources for independent publishers

1. Get the best ticket rate for INN Days. Join nonprofit news leaders and changemakers on June 11-12 in San Diego, CA, for INN Days, a conference dedicated to sharing inspiring examples, practical skills, and solutions-focused conversations. (Early bird ticket pricing ends TODAY)

2. Celebrate your climate coverage. Covering Climate Now is accepting entries for its fourth annual 2024 CCNow Journalism Awards, which celebrate exceptional climate storytelling in 14 subject-based categories. (Apply by Mar. 1)

3. Apply for UNC’s Center for Integrity in News Reporting Awards. Four $25,000 awards will be given for the most fair, impartial, and objective news reporting. (Apply by Mar. 1)

4. Ethically explore AI. Check out the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY’s new AI Journalism Lab, a three-month, tuition-free hybrid program that helps journalists ethically explore and experiment with AI. (Apply by Mar. 12)

5. Safeguard your work. Attend Blue Avocado’s one-hour webinar on protecting your organization’s copyrighted works and avoiding the infringement of others. (Mar. 21)

6. Navigate your mid-sized market. LION member The Current has created a new conference, Big Towns, that celebrates the work of mid-sized cities and includes a local journalism track. (Apr. 23-24 in Lafayette, LA)

7. Check out Google’s open call. Google has initiated an open call process for Canadian news organizations that could be designated as eligible under the Online News Act to self-identify in order to benefit from its new contribution to the Canadian news ecosystem. (Apply by April 30)

8. Assess AI opportunities. Check out this detailed report on AI for independent news publishers produced by UK-based independent media consultant Madalina Ciobanu.

9. Create a capital campaign. Watch the Lenfest Institute for Journalism’s one-hour webinar featuring Andrea Kihlstedt, the co-founder of Capital Campaign Pro, on planning and launching a capital campaign.

10. Gain philanthropic support. Read this new report from the Local Media Association on best practices for sustaining philanthropy as a critical funding source for civic journalism.


What we’re reading

Desert or oasis? What a county’s average household income, population density, and GDP indicate about its residents’ access to local news. (Nieman Lab)

A very American issue. How the “scale-above-all” approach is undermining U.S. publishers. (Baekdal/Basic newsletter

Local news or Netflix? The New York Times’ publisher compares news subscriptions to streaming services, saying local news needs to “think bigger.” (Nieman Lab) LION member Epicenter-NYC’s publisher believes our industry’s challenge (and potential) lies in “the absolute reinvention of what news actually is and what it means in people’s lives. Only then might we be valued in the same manner as a Hulu or Netflix subscription.” (Epicenter-NYC)

Following the leader. Why Dale R. Anglin was chosen to lead Press Forward, plus three ways the initial $500 million in funding will be spent. (Columbia Journalism Review)

A disheartening D.C. closure. WAMU, NPR’s affiliate for Washington, D.C., laid off 15 staffers and shuttered DCist, the local news website it acquired in 2018, citing a push to focus on its audio content. (Washington City Paper)


LIONs in the news

How could reimagining political coverage boost community participation in the 2024 election?

Canopy Atlanta, South Dakota News Watch, Planeta Venus, The Kansas City Defender, Tucson Sentinel, and VNN Oklahoma will soon find out, as all six have been selected as 2024 Advancing Democracy Fellows. Conecta Arizona will also return for this year’s program.

This nine-month fellowship supports newsrooms in transforming their political and elections coverage –– highlighting solutions to our democracy’s challenges, building civic engagement, and encouraging healthy discourse.

Kudos to these organizations for taking this step to provide critical election information to their communities.

Meet the 2024 Fellows
More than 70 journalists from all over the United States will participate in this year’s Advancing Democracy Fellowship, where they will learn strategies that they will then embed in their…
Meet the 2024 Fellows
More than 70 journalists from all over the United States will participate in this year’s Advancing Democracy Fellowship, where they will learn strategies that they will then embed in their…

In other LION member news:


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