🙋🏽‍♀️ Why you should be a Sustainability Audit analyst


One of our most requested offerings this year has been our Sustainability Audits — reports that give members an assessment of their operational, financial, and journalistic data, and recommendations for how their news businesses can move closer to sustainability. 

Central to this program are our audit analysts, industry experts who work with publishers to produce these reports. This year’s analysts told us how inspiring and fulfilling the work is:

  • “Hearing from other analysts and sharing learnings with the organizations I worked with encouraged a sense of optimism,” said Bene Cipolla, the former editor-in-chief and publisher at Chalkbeat.
  • “I loved hearing from small, enterprising publishers and journalists about their accomplishments and challenges and thinking about how LION and other resources could help them reach their business and editorial goals,” said Frances Dinkelspiel, cofounder of Berkeleyside and Cityside.

If you have deep experience working with independent publishers and want to help them evaluate the sustainability of their businesses, apply to be an audit analyst by January 7, 2024. 

– Elaine Díaz, LION’s associate director of coaching

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4 resources for independent publishers

1. Submit your innovative idea. Apply for a Reynolds Journalism Institute fellowship to spend eight months working on a project that supports journalists and their communities. (Apply by Feb. 4, 2024)

2. Save the date for LION’s Independent News Sustainability Summit. Mark your calendar for September 5-7, 2024, to attend our Summit, which aims to gather 500 independent news leaders for three days of learning and connection. Tickets will be available in January.

3. Get advice on launching a newsletter. Read Inbox Collective’s roundup of what 20 newsletter operators had to say about their experience launching a newsletter.

4. Craft sponsor-centric messaging. Check out these insights from Indiegraf on developing messaging and a value proposition to attract sponsorship revenue.


What we’re reading

It’s time. In her Nieman Lab prediction, LION’s deputy director Anika Anand argues that the problem is not intermediaries receiving too much foundation money but the lack of coordination between these intermediaries to enable the most efficient and best use of existing resources. (Nieman Lab)

C-18 analysis. Canadian professor Alfred Hermida writes, “While the agreement allows all sides to claim victory, it is clear that Google successfully extracted key concessions over how it is regulated in Canada.” And LION member and former media analyst Ken Doctor argues why the death of the link tax idea would be “good news for all who care about rebuilding local news.” (Nieman Lab)

News? No thanks! Why certain kinds of people are more likely to avoid news consumption. (Nieman Lab)

Ready to scale. The Tiny News Collective has hired its first executive director, Amy L. Kovac-Ashley, and received an influx of foundation funding. Current interim executive director Heather Bryant reflects on the last three years of Tiny News. (Tiny News Collective)

Human-centered AI. How industry experts are imagining AI tools for journalism, and three promising prototypes currently being tested. (Kaveh Waddell, Medium)


LIONs in the news

This past week, Alameda Post, a hyperlocal nonprofit newsroom providing daily coverage to residents of Alameda, CA, was invited to speak on the state of local news during an informational hearing of the Senate Committee on Judiciary. 

The topic? “The importance of journalism in the digital age,” and this quote from founder Adam Gillitt hits the nail on the head: “Being a small newsroom doesn’t mean our standards are any lower, nor our attention to detail any less exacting. Digital publishing allows us to produce news coverage that is as urgent and necessary as any statewide or national publication. But we need reliable resources to continue publishing.”

We couldn’t agree more. 

Kudos to Gillitt and his team for serving the unique needs of their community and advocating for additional support for fellow local newsrooms.

The State of Local News in Alameda
Publisher Adam Gillitt testified on behalf of the Alameda Post in front of a CA Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Dec 5. 2023, describing the challenges facing a small-town newspaper,…
The State of Local News in Alameda
Publisher Adam Gillitt testified on behalf of the Alameda Post in front of a CA Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Dec 5. 2023, describing the challenges facing a small-town newspaper,…

In other LION member news:

  • El Tímpano Editorial Director Maye Primera has been named one of the 10 Most Influential Latina Journalists in California 2023 by the Latino Journalists of California.
  • El Tímpano writes about how its success came from seeking solutions outside of traditional revenue models and funding sources for local news. 
  • Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal have restructured as public charities under a new nonprofit organization, the Long Beach Journalism Initiative.
  • The Kansas City Defender and the Reynolds Journalism Institute are partnering to develop a media toolkit that prioritizes community needs and features the history of the radical Black press.
  • Spotlight PA’s reporting resulted in a dying man’s early release from prison.
  • Berkeleyside, El Tímpano, Mission Local, and Open Vallejo were celebrated at The Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California chapter’s 38th Excellence in Journalism Awards.
  • Technical.ly is hiring a beat reporter for its D.C. market coverage.
  • The Xylom is a finalist for the third annual Anthem Awards, and there is a vote for the Community Voice Award until Dec. 21. 
  • In collaboration with Resolve Philly, the American Press Institute convened its second Inclusion Index cohort; PublicSource and four additional local newsrooms participated and brainstormed solutions for improving community engagement.
  • Cityside, inewsource, MLK50, The Connecticut Mirror, Underscore, and VTDigger have grown their revenue with the help of the American Journalism Project.

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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