The LION News Revenue Fellowship: Direct funding for members to hire revenue-generating roles

Independent news businesses, which operate with very lean teams and whose founders often specialize in reporting and editing, aren’t always

February 24, 2021 by Anika Anand

Independent news businesses, which operate with very lean teams and whose founders often specialize in reporting and editing, aren’t always able to hire the revenue-generating roles that can transform an editorially valuable mission into a financially sustainable business. We regularly hear from LION members who are eager for advice, coaching and resources to help fill this knowledge and resource gap.

That’s why we’re launching the LION News Revenue Fellowship, in partnership with the Facebook Journalism Project. This program, the largest we’ve ever run, will commit $1,000,000 over two years to selected LION member organizations who are ready to design or bolster their revenue strategy.

“Now, more than ever, independent newsrooms know truly flourishing means sustainable revenue growth,” said Dorrine Mendoza, Strategic News Partnerships at Facebook. “We’re inspired by the hard work local newsrooms do every day and are thrilled to support the LION News Revenue Fellowship with this investment to help more newsrooms thrive.”

Through an application process, we will select a group of LION member organizations that will receive up to two years of funding to hire someone who will focus primarily on revenue generation with the goal of making their position self-sustaining at the end of the two years. For our first cohort, we will prioritize news businesses pursuing sustainability through a revenue strategy focused on readers, major donors or advertisers. Every LION member will be considered eligible for this program — their tax status will not matter.

LION will work directly with selected news businesses to identify their needs, develop a recruitment strategy, train the new employees upon hiring, and provide them with ongoing coaching support.

Our first step in launching this ambitious program is hiring a News Revenue Coach to work directly with the LION member organizations and their future Revenue Fellows. This News Revenue Coach will also help define the program details, with support from the LION programming team. If you’re interested, read more about the role and apply by March 21.

We are optimistic about the potential of this program, which is focused squarely on helping our members with their businesses’ financial health. As is the case with all the programs we’ve run over the past year, we’ll certainly have many more applicants deserving of help than we can fund. But we hope that this pilot project is the beginning of offering more programs that can provide direct funding to our growing membership.

About LION Publishers
LION Publishers is an association for independent entrepreneurs launching and growing local and single-subject news business. It provides resources, training and community to hundreds of news founders in the U.S. and Canada. View current LION membersapply to become a member; and sign up to receive weekly updates on the latest news and opportunities for independent news entrepreneurs.

About the Facebook Journalism Project
The Facebook Journalism Project works with publishers around the world to strengthen the connection between journalists and the communities they serve. It also helps address the news industry’s core business challenges. Its trainings, programs, and partnerships work in three ways: 1. Building community through news by working with and investing in organizations that fund quality journalism; 2. Training newsrooms globally; and 3. Partnering with news publishers and nonprofits to combat misinformation, promote news literacy, fund new initiatives, share best practices, and improve journalism on its platforms. For more information, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/journalismproject


Anika Anand is the deputy director of LION Publishers where she oversees the creation and execution of programming. You can reach her at [email protected]

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