11 ways to build a stronger news business

11 ways to build a stronger news business

If you read LION’s 2022 Annual Report last week, you probably noticed a theme in our work – helping independent news publishers build stronger, more sustainable businesses

So in that spirit, here are 11 resources, fellowships, grants, and other upcoming opportunities for independent publishers:

1. Earn revenue from elections coverage. Ballotpedia is piloting a new program to help publishers level up their voter guide and build a strategy to monetize it. Learn more and apply» (Sponsored)

2. Improve your news products with help from industry peers. The News Product Alliance Summit is a virtual conference built around participation, discussion, and collaborative problem-solving. (Deadline to propose a session or apply for a stipend: TOMORROW) 

3. Create a resource for journalists and newsrooms. The RJI Fellowship is an eight-month program that offers fellows funding and support to build a resource that’s free, accessible and open-source. (Deadline: TOMORROW)

4. Launch or grow a news product. The Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators Program will help participants build, grow and monetize a niche newsletter, site or podcast in 100 days. (Deadline: TOMORROW)

5. Bring your small business tax questions to this “ask me anything” webinar with a licensed tax professional. (February 9)

6. Get funding to launch a nonprofit newsroom. The American Journalism Project’s Local News Incubator will offer four founders 18 months of support and $400,000 in seed funding. (Deadline: February 15) 

7. Nominate your early-stage media business for an innovation prize. The Next Challenge for Media & Journalism is a national startup competition seeking groundbreaking for-profit and nonprofit startups that will reinvent media in the coming decade. (Deadline: February 17)

8. Get support as a BIPOC news leader by applying for one of these upcoming programs:

  • The Philadelphia Media Founders Exchange is a community-grounded accelerator program supporting BIPOC media and news entrepreneurs through training, one-on-one coaching, and grantmaking. (Deadline: February 9)

9. Write a ‘year in review’ retro and share it with your readers. Southwest Voices published an excellent post about the publication’s impact, revenue, expenses, readership and operations in 2022 – and used it as an opportunity to recruit more members and advertisers.   

10. Deepen your political coverage. The Advancing Democracy Fellowship (formerly the Democracy SOS Fellowship) is a nine-month, virtual fellowship for newsrooms that are ready to evolve their political and elections coverage. (Deadline: February 14)

11. Apply for an investigative journalism grant. The Data-Driven Reporting Project gives financial awards to organizations and freelancers working on document-focused, investigative stories — especially those serving local and underrepresented communities. (Applications open: March 1; Deadline: March 13)

– Ben DeJarnette, communications manager, and the LION team

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What we’re reading

Landing launch. How a nonprofit local newsroom with $20 million in seed funding is defining its mission. (Houston Landing)

Subscription strategy. What publishers can learn from Business Insider about the opportunities and limitations of paywalls. (Simon Owens’s Media Newsletter)

Pay transparency. Why more states are requiring employers to disclose salary ranges in their job listings. (Bloomberg)

Face time. How LION member LAist is becoming a household name in Los Angeles media. (Variety

Crazy-high conversion. How The Dispatch is getting 17 percent of its newsletter readers to pay for a subscription. (The Rebooting)

LIONs in the news

Don’t blink or you might miss another LION member scoring a seven-figure grant.

Last week started with Enlace Latino NC, Fort Worth Report, and Flatwater Free Press receiving a combined $3.25 million from the American Journalism Project, and it ended with MLK50 announcing a $2 million grant from the Ford Foundation

“It’s hard to overstate the impact a grant of this size will have on MLK50,” founder Wendi C. Thomas said. “Few Black-led newsrooms have any sort of financial runway, which restricts the impact they can have in communities that need high-caliber journalism the most.” 🙏

How journalists in Hawaii are covering (and coping with) the Maui wildfires – Poynter
‘We’re going to be here for the long haul, so we have a huge task in front of us.’ Journalists in Hawaii spoke with Poynter about covering the Maui wildfires.
How journalists in Hawaii are covering (and coping with) the Maui wildfires – Poynter
‘We’re going to be here for the long haul, so we have a huge task in front of us.’ Journalists in Hawaii spoke with Poynter about covering the Maui wildfires.

In other LION member news…

  • New York Focus is featured in Nieman Lab for its work bringing accountability journalism to local and state politics. 
  • Oviedo Community News editor-in-chief Megan Stokes won third place in Florida Press Club’s Excellence in Journalism Competition for Environmental Writing.

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