🚀 We’ve added 368 outlets to our independent publisher database

Last year, we recruited 24 independent news leaders from 21 regions across the U.S. as community ambassadors to help us map the independent news landscape and add publications to our Project Oasis database, the largest list of independent news businesses in the U.S. 

The results are in. Through this work, we’ve identified an additional 368 independent local news businesses in the U.S., bringing our total count of independent publications across the U.S. and Canada to 1,601 –– more than doubling the number of organizations since we first launched the database in 2020.

Read our three takeaways from the project, including how we’re thinking about the definition of independent local news (and how it may change over time), and why it’s important to keep this database current.

If you’d like to be added to the Project Oasis database, please fill out this form to request to be included, or you can use this form to request a change to an existing entry.

– Samantha Matsumoto, LION’s community engagement manager

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9 resources for independent publishers

1. Jumpstart your corporate giving. Johanna Derlega, the founder of Beech Strategies and former chief revenue officer of The 19th, will join the Lenfest Institute for a virtual discussion on corporate giving strategies, including how to use design thinking to create products that businesses will want to support. (TODAY at 3 p.m. ET)

2. Explore your newsletter strategy. North Carolina local news organizations can sign up for the 2024 NC Newsletter Challenge Boot Camp, a six-week deep dive into launching a new newsletter or revamping an existing one. (Apply by Feb. 2)

3. Put people first in election reporting. Join the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas for a free webinar on moving beyond traditional horse-race election coverage toward a more inclusive journalism that prioritizes community voices. (Feb. 6)

4. Get the facts on firearms violence. Join the National Press Club Journalism Institute for a virtual conversation among experts and journalists on where to find the best data and research on firearms and gun deaths. (Feb. 9)

5. Celebrate NJ local news. The Center for Cooperative Media is accepting submissions and nominations for the 2024 Excellence in NJ Local News Awards, which celebrate the exceptional work of local newsrooms in New Jersey. (Apply by Feb. 16)

6. Receive support for mental health reporting. The Carter Center is accepting applications for the 2024-25 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism, and these year-long, nonresidential fellowships provide stipends and resources to help journalists produce compelling solutions-based stories. (Apply by April 12)

7. Revisit your newsletter metrics. Inbox Collective has created a list of 25 core metrics to help you measure your newsletter success, starting with the “most misrepresented” one –– your open rate.

8. Find free local tax help. The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs offer free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals.

9. Dive into grant writing. This step-by-step workbook from the Lenfest Institute and PENN Creative Strategy covers the ins and outs of successful grant writing.

What we’re reading

Life after legacy. Where old news methods are failing, innovation is occurring in grassroots organizations and new journalism efforts that are “built on listening and serving communities, not nostalgia.” (Jeff Jarvis, Buzz Machine)

No smoke signals. Sharing bad news with newsroom staff is never easy, but here’s why maintaining transparency and minimizing surprises can go a long way. (Dick Tofel, Second Rough Draft)

Information gardens. How a diverse community of media makers in California’s Inland Empire nourished an “information garden,” and why these organic, pre-existing news ecosystems can help reduce the number of news deserts. (The Objective

Local listeners. How City Cast, a growing network of local podcasts and newsletters in 11 U.S. cities, streamlined its data collection process and analyzed audience demographics to help ensure each outlet reflects its respective community. (Nieman Lab)

A collective contract. Five months after the newsroom’s first-ever layoffs, The Texas Tribune staff announced they are unionizing, with 90 percent of staff supporting the move. (Poynter

Community revival. After being forced to lay off its 10-person staff following the discovery that a former employee embezzled its funds, The Eugene Weekly has raised enough money to resume printing and rehire four staff members. (The New York Times)

LIONs in the news

At LION, we’re big on combating burnout because we’ve discovered that news businesses cannot reach sustainability without establishing a solid operational foundation to support staff and manage growth. 

So this week, we’re celebrating The Appeal’s employee-first, anti-burnout approach, which was developed in partnership with its staff and includes reasonable workloads and working hours, flexible scheduling policies, and extended breaks.

“We all feel empowered because we’re all part of making these decisions,” said Molly Greene, The Appeal’s strategy and legal director. 

Learn more about their approach.

Journalists are burned out. Some newsrooms are fighting back.
Keeping reporters healthy over the long term often requires both systemic and behavioral changes, and getting buy-in often isn’t easy.
Journalists are burned out. Some newsrooms are fighting back.
Keeping reporters healthy over the long term often requires both systemic and behavioral changes, and getting buy-in often isn’t easy.

In other LION member news:

  • Resolve Philly’s Modifier will host its first in-person event in April, featuring workshops on community engagement, operational resilience, and more. 
  • Eesha Pendharkar has joined The Maine Monitor as senior education reporter and data editor, focusing on education and equity issues in Maine schools.
  • El Tímpano, Grist, Honolulu Civil Beat, The Texas Tribune, and Wisconsin Watch are founding partners of The 19th’s News Network, a collective of national, regional, and local publishers seeking to advance racial and gender equity in politics and policy journalism.
  • The Florida Chapter of the Society for Professional Journalism and Prison Journalism Project launched an awards program to honor journalistic excellence in the incarcerated community.
  • The Xylom is a Silver Winner in News & Journalism, Sustainability, Environment, & Climate in The 3rd Annual Anthem Awards, which honors worldwide social impact work.
  • Cityside is mentioned as a local news “bright spot” in this New York Times’ Hard Fork podcast episode.

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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