🗳️ Election season is here: Tell us how LION can help

We know that local elections will be a critical coverage area for independent news publishers in 2024.

In fact, many LION members have already started producing elections-related content and programming, like Shasta Scout’s Meet the Candidate series, The Raincross Gazette’s Candidate Tracker, and Jacksonville Today’s interactive event with a county election supervisor. 

We’d love to hear from our members about how LION can best support this vital work. Please complete our short survey to help us understand what elections-related resources we might provide that would be most useful to you.

Questions about the survey or member benefits related to elections? Feel free to contact me at [email protected].

– Sarah Gustavus Lim, LION’s membership director

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2024 Summit and LION Awards

We’ve got a lot (of good things!) going on, so here’s a list of deadlines to keep in mind as you plan to participate in the 2024 Independent News Sustainability Summit and LION Sustainability Awards

12 resources for independent publishers

1. Check out ONA’s Women’s Leadership Accelerator, a six-month intensive program for women and non-binary individuals that offers mentorship, discussion, and learning from digital media leaders. (Apply by Mar. 22)

2. Get funding and support for your startup. Enter the Next Challenge for Media & Journalism, a national competition for early-stage media startups that are transforming local news, building technology to power future newsrooms, and pioneering new ways of distributing content. (Apply by Mar. 25)

3. Confront news avoidance. Trusting News is offering a five-week cohort program to explore and address people’s perceptions of news. (Apply by Mar. 25)

4. Offer solutions this election season. Sign up for the Knight Center’s free, four-week online course that teaches participants how to move beyond traditional “horse race” coverage and prioritize solutions-oriented election reporting. (Mar. 25)

5. Boost your volunteerism. Attend the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona’s in-person panel discussion on exploring best practices for engaging and managing volunteers. (Mar. 26)

6. Tune in to election topics. The American Press Institute and The Associated Press are producing a seven-part election coverage webinar series for local news leaders. Register now for the first one, “AI, misinformation and other threats in the 2024 elections.” (Mar. 28)

7. Prepare to launch. If you’re an aspiring journalism entrepreneur, attend the Google News Initiative’s Pre-launch Lab info session to learn about a six-week free, fully remote training program on launching a news business. (Mar. 28)

8. Secure funding for your story. Apply for the McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism to receive up to $15,000 to pursue an investigative story idea about an important business issue (Mar. 31) and for New America’s Us@250 fellowship to receive $10,000 to produce a local human-interest story about Americans working together to strengthen their communities. (May 3)

9. Access free Canva. LION members earning less than $50,000 in annual revenue and nonprofit member organizations of all revenue tiers can now receive free unlimited access to Canva’s premium features to create visual assets.

10. Master the funnel. Check out LION’s News Entrepreneur Academy course, Audience Funnel 101 with The 19th’s Alexandra Smith, who teaches how to move people from awareness to investment in your news business –– and includes a handy template to get started.

11. Implement an internship program. LION member The Daily Catch has created a handbook for small newsroom managers on hiring, training, and working with interns –– covering everything from connecting with colleges to staying in touch with interns after their internship.

12. Be a step ahead. RJI Fellow and LION member Kate Maxwell shared the Local News Go Bag Toolkit, which contains customizable tools and templates for local news reporters to create or refine their emergency coverage.

What we’re reading

“More than a website.” Former readers and staffers of the shuttered online news site DCist share their reflections on how the outlet helped them build community. (WAMU 88.5)

News deserts. New research finds that Quebec’s English-speaking population, the linguistic minority, has been disproportionately affected by local media closures. (Montreal Gazette)

First week debrief. Press Forward’s new director, Dale R. Anglin, outlines the initiative’s progress and priority areas, addresses how dollars are being distributed through its Aligned Grantmaking, and notes that the Pooled Fund will open in April for applications from local news initiatives. (Press Forward)

Build a broad base. Why philanthropy can be considered a viable business model if nonprofit newsrooms diversify their giving strategy and don’t rule out earned revenue. (Dick Tofel, Second Rough Draft)

An interconnected community. This Venn diagram breaks down the differences (and similarities) between the major groups (including LION) who are supporting local digital news outlets. (Nieman Lab)

LIONs in the news

Sahan Journal, an award-winning nonprofit news outlet reporting for and with Minnesota’s immigrants, is embarking on an exciting new chapter in its success story. Its founder, Mukhtar Ibrahim, is stepping down as publisher and CEO, and the search is on for an executive director.

Discover how Ibrahim took a one-person side project that “immediately filled a need” and, over the course of five years, turned it into a flourishing, community-based newsroom poised for growth.

How Sahan Journal grew into a vital source of news and information for Minnesota’s immigrant communities
Five years after launch, Sahan Journal has a $3 million annual budget and 23 full-time staffers.
How Sahan Journal grew into a vital source of news and information for Minnesota’s immigrant communities
Five years after launch, Sahan Journal has a $3 million annual budget and 23 full-time staffers.

In other LION member news:

  • Conecta Arizona, Documented, El Tímpano, Enlace Latino NC, and Outlier Media are reimagining how to reach audiences and have received Press Forward funding to expand this work. 
  • Plus, another kudos to Outlier Media for winning an international media award from Associació de Mitjans d’Informació i Comunicació (AMIC) for “ser un bon exemple de com el periodisme de proximitat pot servir alhora per informar, involucrar i donar resposta a les necessitats de la ciutadania.” Translated to English, that’s “for being a good example of how local journalism can simultaneously serve to inform, involve and respond to the needs of citizens.” 
  • Times of San Diego, which has over 600,000 monthly readers, celebrated its 10th anniversary and was recognized by the San Diego City Council.
  • Arizona Luminaria, Tucson Agenda, and Tucson Sentinel have been selected to receive grants from the Local News Initiative at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona.
  • Grist and the Center for Rural Strategies awarded $100,000 in grants to freelance reporters and newsrooms, and recipients produced more than 50 stories.

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].

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