Southeast News Sustainability Meetup & 2023 LION Awards Ceremony and Dinner

More than 200 independent news leaders, funders, and supporters joined LION Publishers for the sold-out Southeast News Sustainability Meetup on October 3-4, 2023, in Durham, North Carolina. Attendees from across the country and Canada networked with peers, gained new knowledge and industry insights, and celebrated the accomplishments of fellow independent news entrepreneurs. We hosted the fifth annual LION Local Journalism Awards Ceremony on the evening of October 3 in conjunction with the Meetup, and thanks to generous support from our sponsors, we awarded $55,800 in cash prizes to 36 outstanding news businesses.

Here's a quick recap:

💫 Read our top 5 event takeaways, including how the independent news industry bucks tradition by prioritizing community collaboration

🏆 Meet the 36 winners of the 2023 LION Local Journalism Awards

📅 Save the date for our next independent news conference on September 5-7, 2024, in Chicago, Illinois

📸 Access our complete photo gallery

What people are saying

"The affinity group was special. There were deep connections all around –– people made eye contact and felt heard. It's the kind of networking you hope for at a conference." – Flavian DeLima, Spinning Forward

"I felt welcomed and noticed. It was wonderful to meet new publishers and connect with folks I already knew. I loved speaking with funders." – Leo Cusimano, The Dallas Voice

"Lots of networking time. Friendly forum. Amazing and supportive group." – Annelise Pierce, Shasta Scout

"I loved meeting people who are doing similar work and at different stages in business development." – Nicci Kadilak, Burlington Buzz


Attendees are welcome to use these photos from the Meetup on their websites and in other marketing materials, with credit to Eleazar Yisrael and Jeyhoun Allebaugh, Inspired Storytellers. Access the complete photo gallery here.

Session details

Click on each title below to read about the Meetup's sessions, including descriptions, speaker bios, and more.


Our sponsors made the 2023 Southeast News Sustainability Meetup and LION Local Journalism Awards possible. If you're interested in sponsorship for the 2024 event, please get in touch with Chris Krewson at [email protected]. The 2024 event will take place from September 5-7 in Chicago, and bring together LION members and fellow independent news publishers, supporters, and funders from across the U.S. and Canada. It will also include our 2024 LION Awards Ceremony and Dinner.