When the team behind The New York Times’ popular newsletter, The Morning, reached out and asked us to share an opportunity with our LION members, we sent communications out within the hour. The ask? For independent publishers to submit a few of their favorite stories from 2023 for consideration in a special newsletter highlighting the importance of local journalism.
“The Morning: The rebirth of local journalism” hit inboxes on Friday, December 22, featuring the work of 25 local news outlets around the country. Of those included, 22 are LION members, with dozens more listed online under “Local Journalism Worth Reading From 2023.”
Huge congratulations to The Colorado Sun, Spotlight PA, The Charlotte Ledger, The Indianola Independent Advocate, Shasta Scout, ecoRI News, The Xylom, The Food Section, Arizona Luminaria, Documented, Wisconsin Watch, Block Club Chicago, Collin-Denton Spotlighter, Berkeleyside, The Concord Bridge, The Oaklandside, TAPinto Westfield, Lebtown, The Nevada Independent, Jersey City Times, Saco Bay News, Montana Free Press, and all the LION members and fellow independent news outlets listed online.
We’re thrilled to see your success celebrated on a national stage –– and for some, this exposure has already led to more support. We’ve heard from The Charlotte Ledger that after the NYT’s newsletter landed, they received two weeks’ worth of new subscriptions –– a nice (and unexpected) boost heading into the new year.
– Chris Krewson, LION’s executive director
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12 resources for independent publishers
1. Connect with LION member Ryan Sorrell of the Kansas City Defender to learn more about his work at the publication he founded and the toolkit he’s building with the Reynolds Journalism Institute that prioritizes community needs and features the history of the radical Black press. (TODAY at 2:30 p.m. ET)
2. Nominate an up-and-coming news leader. Editor & Publisher’s annual “25 Under 35” recognition honors young, bright, highly skilled news media leaders making significant contributions to their outlets and the news industry. (Apply by Jan. 5)
3. Apply to be a LION Sustainability Audit analyst. LION is seeking dedicated industry experts to help independent publishers evaluate the sustainability of their news business. (Apply by Jan. 7)
4. Create a financial plan for your small business during this SCORE webinar. SCORE, a nonprofit organization and resource partner of the Small Business Administration, provides training and resources to entrepreneurs. (Jan. 25)
5. Reform your crime reporting. Apply for Poynter’s 24-week online seminar to craft a strategy that elevates your criminal justice and public safety reporting and better serves your community. (Apply by Jan. 30)
6. Write a strong self-assessment. Read Harvard Business Review’s five tips for drafting a self-assessment that includes your most impactful accomplishments and demonstrates a desire for further development.
8. Take time for care. Discover how care can be prioritized in your life, journalism, and institution with this new zine from the Care Collaboratory.
9. Expand your knowledge of AI. The Upgrade is offering 30 percent off two cohort-based classes for LION members taught by UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism lecturer Peter Bittner. AI Fundamentals and AI Boost are perfect for small newsrooms and news entrepreneurs. Contact Hayley at hayleymilloy@lionpublishers for the member discount code.
10. Snag a journalism scholarship. The National Press Club and the Journalism Institute are currently accepting applications for various student scholarships. Funding opportunities are available for high school, college, and graduate students. (Application deadlines vary)
11. 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 soon.
12. Help prepare your community for disasters. Here are some strategies from the Reynolds Journalism Institute for supplying critical information and resources when disaster strikes.
What we’re reading
‘Where’s the damn paper?’ An Oregon-based newspaper laid off its 10-person staff after discovering an employee embezzled thousands of dollars. (Business Insider)
Falling short. A two-year study by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists reveals that investigative news teams at major news organizations need more journalists of color. (NAHJ)
LIONs in the news
The start of a new year can certainly bring about unexpected changes –– and independent publishers should be prepared to adapt when such changes can help or hinder their news business.
That’s what Energeticcity, a British-Columbia-based news outlet, had to do when the Canadian federal government passed the Online News Act, also called Bill C-18, this past summer. After Bill C-18’s passage, traffic to Energeticcity’s website dropped by 30 percent, resulting in lost revenue from digital advertising. Before this shift, digital advertising was the outlet’s primary revenue driver that funded its journalism.
Read the case study to discover how Energeticcity found new ways to fuel its revenue growth in 2024.
In other LION member news:
- Planet Detroit surpassed its NewsMatch goal of $15,000, raising $62,000 in its year-end fundraiser with support from NewsMatch, Joyce Foundation, Knight Foundation, and more than 30 Impact Partners.
- The Maine Monitor has hired Kate Cough as its new editor, elevating her from environment reporter and enterprise editor. Stephanie McFeeters, managing editor at Harper’s Magazine, will join as deputy editor.
- VTDigger is hiring a chief financial and administration officer to lead human resources, guide financial planning and strategy, and steer operational functions.
- CalMatters is hiring a development manager to support donor communications and events while identifying potential sources of new support and managing its mid-level giving program.
- CalMatters’ partnership with Catchlight is featured in the Center for Cooperative Media’s list of the top 10 journalism collaborations of 2023.
- Illinois Latino News published a solutions journalism report on period poverty, supported by a fellowship with the Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS) and sponsored by The Commonwealth Fund.
- The Buckeye Flame is hiring a Report for America Corps Member position to cover LGBTQ+ rural Ohio, and the application deadline is Jan. 31.
- Verified News Network is hiring a part-time multimedia manager to ensure the quality of its content, products, and services and manage the VNN team.
- Congratulations to Lisa Heyamoto, LION’s associate director of membership education, whose article, “The Greatest Game Ever Played Behind Barbed Wire,” is one of Narratively’s top stories of 2023.
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].