🤝 Help connect and support independent news publishers


If you are passionate about connecting with other independent news leaders and want to help them learn from one another, we want to hear from you! 

We’re seeking five community ambassadors from LION member organizations to lead facilitated peer groups that allow members to share experiences, talk about challenges and resources, build a sense of belonging in the LION community, and support one another as they work to make their news businesses more sustainable. 

Interested? Complete this application by 11 p.m. PT on Sunday, March 17. We’ll host an information session about being a community ambassador on Wednesday, February 28, at noon PT.

– Samantha Matsumoto, LION’s community engagement manager

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10 resources for independent publishers

1. Separate your career from your identity. Join the National Press Club Journalism Institute for a virtual conversation with a journalist and a psychologist on managing your career in a time of media turmoil. (Feb. 16)

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

5. 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. LION members can contact [email protected] for a 25% discount code. (Apr. 23-24 in Lafayette, LA)

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

7. Share why you stayed in (or left) local news. The Center for Innovation & Sustainability in Local Media is seeking responses to its anonymous survey as part of a research study to identify what makes journalists stay in (or leave) local news.

8. 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.

9. Republish climate content. Grist makes most of its content available to republish, and editors can sign up for a weekly email to learn about available stories and images, as well as upcoming publication topics.

10. Get free support for your startup. If you’re a professional journalist who was recently laid off and you’re thinking about starting your own media business, Ghost.org is offering free Ghost(Pro) accounts and support for one year.


What we’re reading

Reframing and responding. How one researcher’s quest to help news organizations build healthy work cultures evolved after she re-evaluated what “healthy” really means. (Reynolds Journalism Institute)

The 411 on 404. How 404 Media, a journalist-owned startup from the former employees of Vice’s tech vertical, is prioritizing owning their own work. (Nieman Lab)

Big funders, small newsrooms. Citing industry inequity, a group of small nonprofit news outlets has established a new coalition, the Alliance of Nonprofit News Outlets, to advocate for more direct, unrestricted operating funding for newsrooms. Part two argues that institutional foundations favor larger entities and intermediaries due to a perceived lack of risk, and how this thinking particularly affects BIPOC-led publications. (Nieman Lab)

Speaking of funding support… Press Forward has welcomed Dale R. Anglin, a veteran grantmaker with local journalism experience, as its inaugural director. (Press Forward)

Early adopters. Why the rise of AI is “a moment of profound empowerment in the information age,” and why newsrooms should consider learning about and testing this technology now. (Columbia Journalism Review) Plus, here are five examples of how The Baltimore Times has “welcomed AI as a tool for helping [its] small team serve audiences better.” (Local Media Association)


LIONs in the news

One of LION’s primary focuses over the next five years is to ensure any LION member who wants a Sustainability Audit can get one. So we’re excited to announce that 43 more independent news publishers have been accepted for our first 2024 Audit cycle! 

Participants will receive an expert assessment of their news business and up to $20,000 in direct funding to help them reach organizational sustainability. (See how we’ve charted the path to sustainability via our maturity model). 

Audit applications are open through September 9, and all U.S.-based LION members who have yet to receive an Audit are encouraged to apply. 

Check out the list of participants and learn why they applied.

43 LION members selected for Sustainability Audit’s 2024 February-April cycle
Publishers will receive expert guidance and $20,000 in direct funding.
43 LION members selected for Sustainability Audit’s 2024 February-April cycle
Publishers will receive expert guidance and $20,000 in direct funding.

In other LION member news:

  • Chalkbeat received a shoutout on Abbott Elementary, an ABC sitcom about a group of dedicated public school teachers in Philadelphia. 
  • Resolve Philly is hiring a chief programs officer to lead the strategic direction of its programmatic work.
  • Shasta Scout has been selected as a California Local News Fellowship newsroom, and early-career journalists can apply now for the two-year, full-time fellowship position.
  • The Lawrence Times’ Mackenzie Clark, NowKalamazoo’s Kristantie May, and AFRO News’ Megan Sayles have been selected for Editor & Publisher’s 2024 “25 Under 35.” 
  • To celebrate its 12th anniversary, ​​Khasokhas launched a giving campaign (“Donate $12-$1,200 and Become a Patron of Our 12th Anniversary”) suggested by a LION Audit analyst and raised $10,000.
  • The Eastsider has partnered with local student newsroom The Occidental on a new neighborhood reporting project to increase coverage of Northeast L.A.
  • Knock LA has created a Progressive Voter Guide for the 2024 March Primary Election, which received thousands of views in its first 24 hours of being live.
  • CalMatters’ Rachel Becker, Conecta Arizona’s Maritza L. Félix, New York Amsterdam News’ Helina Selemon, and The Xylom’s Alex Ip share how science explainers can inform and empower local audiences.
  • 9 Millones describes what its team has learned about community building by prioritizing a solutions-focused perspective on climate reporting.

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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