This newsletter is sponsored by Ballotpedia, which is piloting a new program to help publishers level up their voter guides and build a strategy to monetize them. Learn more and apply»
Why dollars alone won’t save local news
Money is good. Money is not enough.
That’s one of the key lessons from our work in 2022.
We’re proud to have awarded $1.8 million in direct funding to our members last year, and we know how far that money can go in the hands of scrappy independent news businesses.
But we’ve also learned its limitations, especially for publishers who are running a small business for the first time.
Publishers told us that our programming helped them gain skills and confidence in their strategic decision-making – and equipped them to make even better use of the dollars they received.
A key part of that programming has been personalized coaching – here’s what we learned about how to make that most effective.
In total, we provided more than 850 hours of coaching and consulting to our members in 2022, and we launched a pilot of the News Entrepreneur Academy, where LION members can sign up for self-guided courses to strengthen their small business skills.
Our education programs combine these ingredients – funding, coaching and self-guided training – to help LION members build more sustainable businesses, and we’ll keep iterating on that in 2023.
Want to get access to coaching, training and funding from LION in 2023? Apply to become a LION member to join our community of 450+ independent news publishers, and stay tuned for updates soon on this year’s programming.
– Ben DeJarnette, communications manager, and the LION team
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Meet our sponsor: Ballotpedia
Election 2022 might be barely behind us, but it’s never too soon to start thinking about the next voting cycle, especially when there’s revenue on the line.
Yes, revenue! From election coverage!
That’s one of the goals for a new program led by Ballotpedia that will help local news publishers improve their voter guides – and build a strategy to monetize them.
10 resources for independent news publishers
1. Get help identifying your newsroom’s blind spots at a one-hour webinar with Joy Mayer from Trusting News and Eve Pearlman from Spaceship Media. (TODAY)
3. Earn more revenue from philanthropy. Register for the virtual 2023 Lenfest News Philanthropy Summit. (January 31–February 1).
4. 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: February 3)
5. 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: February 3)
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. Join a leadership program for BIPOC journalists. The Leadership Academy for Diversity in Media is a one-week, in-person program at Poynter’s campus in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Deadline: February 17)
8. Level up your leadership skills. The American Press Institute is sharing five practical leadership challenges and assignments in weekly installments, starting with advice on how to create “user manuals” for your team.
9. Protect your business with liability insurance. The Institute for Nonprofit News explains why media liability insurance is so important for independent publishers and how to get coverage through its preferred provider as an INN or LION member. (U.S.-based LION members can also apply for liability insurance through LION’s preferred provider program with InSource. Hooray for options!)
10. Make time for revenue work. Check out last week’s LION newsletter for advice on how to prioritize revenue growth and build a plan to make it happen.
What we’re reading
Warning signs. Why venture capitalists are souring on the “creator economy,” and what that could mean for the tools and platforms that independent publishers rely on. (Big Technology)
Real talk. How LION member Sahan Journal is rethinking the traditional newsletter format with audio clips and SMS text messages. (Nieman Lab)
Evergreen reporting. Why ProPublica is launching its latest regional reporting hub in the Pacific Northwest. (ProPublica)
AI applications. How newsrooms will start using artificial intelligence in 2023 – and other predictions for the year ahead. (Reuters Institute)
Revenue experiment. How six Black-led newsrooms will work to make their businesses more sustainable by launching audience revenue campaigns. (Center for Community Media)
LIONs in the news
Poynter announced its 2023 Media Transformation Challenge fellows this week, and we’re so excited that the cohort includes three LION members and one of our colleagues! 🎉
- Danielle Bergstrom is executive director and managing editor at Fresnoland
- Lisa Heyamoto is LION’s programming director of membership education
- Maritza L. Félix is the founder and director of Conecta Arizona
- Norberto Santana is the publisher and editor-in-chief at Voice of OC
The 27 media industry executives selected for this year-long program will identify and pursue their most significant business performance challenges with help from MTC’s tools, concepts, coaches, peer group and alumni network.
In other LION member news…
- Boulder Reporting Lab is hiring a full-time newsroom editor, and Cardinal News is hiring a managing editor.
- The Eastsider raised $18,000 from readers in its fall/winter fundraiser, and it will now be able to hire a part-time assistant editor.
- Moodfuel News founder Renata Hill joined fellow LION member Vicky Collins on the Bucket List Community Cafe podcast to talk about mental wellness in 2023.
- Scalawag Executive Director and Publisher Cierra Hinton served as an analyst on a statewide diversity audit in North Carolina. The project team will discuss their process and approach on this webinar at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT today.
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].