Save the Date: LION Publishers Local Journalism Awards return with five new categories

LION held its first-ever awards program last year, and named 15 winners from 45 finalists across 15 categories. It was

May 27, 2020 by Kelsey Ryan

2020 Local Journalism Awards

LION held its first-ever awards program last year, and named 15 winners from 45 finalists across 15 categories. It was a blast. 

Even though we’ve postponed this year’s annual summit in Seattle, LION Publishers will still host an awards program this year for members. Join us for a virtual awards ceremony on Oct. 22 as we recognize our colleagues from across the U.S. and Canada for their hard work. Awards entry applications will open July 1 and the deadline is Aug. 16.

This year, we’re adding five new categories:

  • Public Service Award: Judges will award a publication who has served its community with high-impact journalistic work.
  • New Publisher of the Year: Judges will award an outstanding entrepreneur who launched their publication after July 1, 2019. 
  • Member of the Year: Based on nominations, the LION staff will award a member who has gone above and beyond in supporting their fellow LION members and community. 
  • Coronavirus Coverage: Judges will award coverage of coronavirus that demonstrates meeting a community’s need; creative reader engagement; and journalistic impact.
  • Collaboration of the Year: Judges will award creative collaborations between publications or community partners.

Returning categories include:

  • Business Idea of the Year: Judges will award a new business initiative that made a substantial difference in revenue prospects.
  • Technology Innovation: Judges will award ideas that promote a new way of doing business, presenting editorial or newsgathering, or engaging with audiences.
  • Best Solutions Project of the Year: Judges will award projects that excel in solutions, evidence-based journalism.
  • Best Coverage of Underserved Communities: Judges will award coverage of communities undercovered by local media, including communities of color, disability, elderly, class, or topics or people not otherwise in the spotlight.
  • Publisher of the Year (Solo, Small, Medium and Large): Judges will award publishers who provide excellent coverage of their community over a prolonged period of time. 
  • Investigative Report of the Year (Solo, Small, Medium and Large): Judges will award investigative stories or series that result in increased awareness and community impact.
  • Breaking News (Solo, Small, Medium and Large): Judges will award for coverage of unplanned breaking or developing news events, weighing quality of writing and creative use of social platforms under deadline. 
  • Visual Journalism Project: Judges will award for compelling storytelling through photography, videography or infographics/data visualization.
  • Service Award (Vendors): Judges will award vendors who offer best-in-class products and customer service for LION Publishers.

The fine print: The LION Awards are open to LION Publishers members, including  employees or freelancers who work for publications run by LION Publishers members. Vendors who have helped serve LION member publications may apply for the LION Service Award. If you are interested in joining LION Publishers, go to our Membership Application page.

Categories: To ensure we’re comparing LION member publications of roughly the same size and capacity, we’ve decided to move from determining a publication’s category size based on pageviews to the total number of full-time employees. To determine which size category you fall into, we’ll ask that you provide your full-time equivalent staff as of July, 1 2019, with each awards entry. 

  • Solopreneur: 1-2 FTEs
  • Small publication: Three to 10 FTEs
  • Medium publication: 11-20 FTEs
  • Large publication: 21+ FTEs

Time frame: The LION Awards are open to editorial work, business initiatives and technological advancements made between July 1, 2019 and July 1, 2020.

What does it cost? Entry fees are $25 for LION Member award categories, and $50 for the Vendor Service Award category, plus transaction fees. 

When do applications open? July 1, 2020.

What’s my deadline? Applications must be received by Sunday, August 16, 2020.

Stay tuned for more details on the applications, virtual awards ceremony and judges!

Questions? Contact Kelsey Ryan at [email protected]

Want to be a sponsor? Contact Wendy & Lotta at [email protected].

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