🫶 How La Converse prioritized people operations to support its growth

A possum joined a pack of LIONs…and they made us 500-members-strong. 🎉

Athens County Independent, an independent, nonprofit news source serving Athens County, Ohio, has joined LION Publishers as our 500th member. Their mascot? A didelphis virginiana. Also known as an opossum. Of the many compelling reasons they give on why they chose a possum, this one most stood out to us: “Opossums are tick-eating machines, eliminating bloodsucking, disease-carrying parasites. We counteract misinformation and BS that infects our public conversation.” Now that’s work we can stand behind. 

Interested in LION membership? Check out our membership benefits and application process here

– Kelsey Wotzka, LION’s membership success associate

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LION gets new board leadership

The LION board voted unanimously to approve Gunita Singh, a staff attorney at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, as chair. Outgoing board chair Rebekah Monson, co-founder and COO of Letterhead, will now serve as our immediate past chair. In addition, Scalawag Executive Director Cierra Hinton was unanimously elected as vice chair.

Jay Allred, president and publisher of Richland Source, and Rosemary Hoban, founder and editor of NC Health News, are stepping down after serving eight and six years, respectively, on LION’s board. Shannon Shaw Duty, editor of Osage News, has also completed her LION board term as of October. We thank them for all their support of LION over the years.

Learn more about our board leadership transition here, and if you’re interested in getting involved with LION’s board, contact the board using this form.

Rosemary Hoban and Jay Allred at the 2023 LION Awards Ceremony

Meet our new associate director of technology

We’re delighted to have Stel Duncan on the LION team as our associate director of technology. Stel spends most days maintaining and improving our tech stack, including our website, Salesforce, and connected systems. This integrated technology allows us to collect, streamline, and analyze our program and membership data, which in turn helps us better understand how we can meet the needs of our members and glean important insights about the independent news industry (like this one).

Stel is based in New York. Read more about him and his role here.

10 resources for independent publishers

1. Submit a proposal for the Catalyst Grant Program. The program helps nonprofits address inequities in the criminal legal system. (Apply by Nov. 17)

2. Cover California’s untold health stories. Apply for USC Annenberg’s California Health Equity Impact Fund, a five-month grant program for journalists who want to produce a project about issues that impact the health of California families. (Apply by Nov. 19)

3. Get ready for Giving Tuesday. Classy, a giving platform, compiled this list of resources for creating a successful campaign. (Giving Tuesday is Nov. 28)

4. Boost your D.C. beat. Apply for the National Press Foundation’s Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellowship, a networking and learning opportunity for rising D.C. reporters that teaches how to cover policy and politics in Washington. (Apply by Dec. 4)

5. Shape your AI strategy. Attend Better Leaders Lab’s Deep Dive: Developing a Smart AI Business Strategy for Your Media Organization, a week-long online course for news leaders looking to create a comprehensive AI strategy. (Jan. 22-26, 2024)

6. Apply for the Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Women in Journalism Workshop, an annual program focusing on challenges, accomplishments, and issues specific to women in the journalism industry. (Apr. 12-14, 2024)

7. Send better surveys. Access the Institute for Nonprofit News’ new set of free survey tools, which includes a template of nearly 100 sample questions your organization can use to build an annual reader survey.

8. Shine a light on burnout. Complete the Reynolds Journalism Institute’s anonymous survey to help researchers discover what changes newsrooms and journalism schools might make to help prevent professional burnout. 

9. Request complimentary access to NewsGuard’s browser extension. This tool provides reliability ratings for more than 35,000 news sources, and journalists can use it to evaluate source credibility, corroborate research findings, and more — email [email protected] to request a voucher.

10. Learn how to financially plan for the long haul with this six-part video series from the Nonprofit Finance Fund.

What we’re reading

An AI crash course. Why news leaders need to know about the main technologies that support the world of artificial intelligence, plus a breakdown of these technologies and their use cases. (Louise Story, Medium)

Good people, bad culture. Why newsroom management and culture horror stories are common, even though most folks working in newsrooms are good, and how to change the narrative. (The Lede)

Stronger together. How the American Journalism Project and a group of Indiana organizations and philanthropists collaborated to create the Indiana Local News Initiative, which delivers independent local news to all Indiana residents. (Editor & Publisher)

Local ties. Press Forward announced a new network of local chapters in Alaska, Illinois, Minnesota, Kansas, and Philadelphia and defined three types of local news ecosystems. (Poynter)

A sustainable solution. Plus, the Knight Foundation offers why it thinks business sustainability is a long-term solution to the local news crisis that should live beyond Press Forward. (News @ Knight)

LIONs in the news

After launching an independent news startup, it can be difficult to prioritize people operations, especially when it might feel like you have a million other things to do.

But Lela Savić, founder of Francophone media organization La Converse, based in Montreal, knew that to grow the outlet thoughtfully and strategically, she needed to attract and retain the right talent. 

That’s why she worked with LION coach Ana Mina to examine and expand the organization’s people operations workflows with an eye to mission alignment. 

The result? In addition to the tangible templates and process documents, by centering La Converse’s culture and values in its hiring and onboarding practices, Lela has set up the organization for success for years to come. 

Read the case study.

Focusing on People Operations for Innovation and Training
How La Converse and École Converse prioritized hiring and onboarding processes to support their growth.
Focusing on People Operations for Innovation and Training
How La Converse and École Converse prioritized hiring and onboarding processes to support their growth.

In other LION member news:

  • Spotlight Delaware, a new collaborative nonprofit newsroom launched by the Local Journalism Initiative of Delaware, is hiring key roles, including a development director and editor-in-chief. 
  • Lookout Santa Cruz’s Ken Doctor is featured in a Medill Local News Initiative post, sharing his perspective on Press Forward, the profitability of independent news startups, the availability of top talent, and more.
  • Honolulu Civil Beat is highlighted in an INN article, describing its transition from a for-profit to a nonprofit newsroom and the use of a substantial donation to diversify its fundraising efforts.

How to reach us

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