Ten news businesses we’re supporting on the path to sustainability with our GNI Startups Lab
LION Publishers and the Google News Initiative are delighted to announce the cohort for the inaugural GNI Startups Lab, a six-month
LION Publishers and the Google News Initiative are delighted to announce the cohort for the inaugural GNI Startups Lab, a six-month program that provides the coaching and capital to help news businesses work toward sustainability.
These 10 news businesses were selected from nearly 150 applicants across the large — and growing — independent digital journalism landscape. They participated in an intensive selection process that included several rounds of evaluation and in-depth interviews with our Resident Experts, who assessed their progress and goals as part of LION’s pilot Sustainability Audit.
About the news businesses:
- 8 are based in the U.S.; 2 are based in Canada
- 4 are directly focused on underserved communities or news deserts
- They range in age from 1–7 years, with an average age of 3
- They employ between 1–11 people full time, with an average of 3 full-time employees
- 5 are nonprofits, 4 are for-profits and 1 is a cooperative
Over the next six months, cohort members — alongside our coaches Brian Boyer, Lizzy Hazeltine and Lillian Ruiz — will each design and launch a revenue-generating experiment that will help them work toward increased operational resilience, financial health and journalistic impact.
These news businesses are poised to embark on the next phase of growth, and we’re thrilled to support them.
They are, in their own words:
Based in: Chicago, Illinois
Mission: Borderless Magazine is a nonprofit news outlet that is reimagining immigration journalism for a more just and equitable future.
Based in: Durham, North Carolina
Mission: Enlace Latino NC’s mission is to empower the diverse community of Latinx immigrants in North Carolina to become more involved in the political and social changes that affect them. We do that by publishing independent, non-partisan, public service journalism in Spanish about local politics, government, immigration, and community affairs.
Based in: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Mission: To provide a lean, subscription-based adversarial news service focused on providing a broad range of coverage of municipal and provincial governments, education, and the powerful — in particular, from an adversarial position, championing workers, the un- and under-employed, First Nations and communities of colour, prisoners, and other marginalized people.
Based in: Indianola, Iowa
Mission: The Indianola Independent Advocate believes in this community, the people who live here and that an independent advocate can help make both better.
Based in: British Columbia, Canada
Mission: IndigiNews is where stories are heard, understood, and respected. Our team of Indigenous reporters and allies are working to secure long-term sustainability of independent Indigenous-led and Indigenous-centred media in Canada.
Based in: Lakeland, Florida
Mission: LkldNow is independent, community-driven news for Lakeland, Florida. By illuminating the community, our aim is to educate Lakeland residents and empower them to become more engaged with their community. Our reporting focuses on efforts to make Lakeland a more livable community.
Based in: San José, California
Mission: San José Spotlight is the city’s first nonprofit news organization dedicated to independent political and business reporting. Our mission is to change the face of local journalism by building a community-supported newsroom that ignites civic engagement, educates citizens and strengthens our democracy. We elevate the voices that traditionally go unheard, serving the Latino and Vietnamese communities in East San José and citywide.
Our stories will search for truth, shed light on wrongdoing and hold the powerful accountable. We are the community’s newsroom.
Based in: Santa Cruz, California
Mission: We produce fair and accurate local journalism that holds power to account.
Based in: Ukiah, California
Mission: To bring the people of Mendocino County news that is immediate, in-depth, independent, accessible to the whole community, and most importantly: useful. Our community-owned news service will provide equitable, engaged coverage that serves readers through a transparent and democratic co-operative governance structure.
Based in: Wausau, Wisconsin
Mission: Wausau Pilot & Review delivers in-depth reporting and analysis that improves local decision-making. We seek to expand civic engagement to foster a vibrant, inclusive, and interdependent community.
LION would like to thank the panel of news entrepreneurship experts who helped us design this program. They are: Corey Ford, Yvonne Leow, Erin Millar, Wesley Panek and Anita Zielina.
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Each winner received at least $1,300 to further boost their independent news business.
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Challenges include access to capital, lack of business experience and low capacity