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News startups programs are too time-consuming. Their sessions aren’t personalized enough. They don’t lead to action without access to funding. 

We heard your feedback about how support organizations like LION can be more helpful – and we’re proud to be partnering with the Google News Initiative on part of the solution

The 2022 GNI Startups Labs will serve a total of 48 publishers across three distinct programs, each of which will focus on a key topic related to building a sustainable news business: managing money and risk, building and managing a team, and planning for revenue growth. 

These topics reflect the most urgent strategic priorities we’ve heard about from LION members, and the programming is specifically designed to be practical, accessible and manageable for news leaders with limited bandwidth.

Learn more about the GNI Startups Labs and the business training, coaching and funding they’ll provide to independent publishers.

The deadline to apply for the Startups Labs is Monday, August 8, and we're hosting an information session on Friday, July 29.

Got questions in the meantime? Send us your Qs by replying to this email – and if you work with publishers who’d benefit from this program, please help us spread the word. 🙏

– Ben DeJarnette, communications manager, and the LION team

15 ways to build a stronger news business

A 30-minute grant application might sound mythical, but that’s exactly what we’re hearing about Google’s News Equity Fund – and we also gather that all eligible applicants have very good odds of receiving funding.

Not sure if you’re eligible? You can learn more about the requirements here, and if in doubt, we strongly encourage publishers to apply, as this is a rare opportunity to access grant funding with hardly any strings attached. 

Now with that exciting news out the way, here are 15 more ways to build a stronger, more sustainable news business.

Earn more revenue

  • Help the Rebuild Local News Coalition help you. Completing this short survey could ultimately make it easier for independent news businesses to access credit and capital.

Improve your business operations

  • Define your product mission and vision. The News Product Alliance’s latest guide explains why mission and vision statements are important, how they’re different and how to write them.

Increase your impact

  • Follow the money. Join a free Poynter webinar about the local impacts of the American Rescue Plan and how to use data and public records to strengthen your reporting. (July 26)
  • Build engagement in the comments section. The Trusting News team has good advice about how to make your comments section more transparent and earn trust in the process.

Check out these grants, awards, fellowships, and conferences

  • Apply for a scholarship to attend ONA22. Recipients will receive complimentary registration for ONA22 in Los Angeles, and the deadline to apply is tomorrow, July 15.
  • Help fund your coverage of democracy. The Fund for Investigative Journalism has launched an emergency grant program for stories about threats to U.S. democracy. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis, with decisions expected within two to four weeks.

Become a LION member

“While other associations have worthwhile benefits, LION provides exactly the right tools for our outlet and I am kicking myself for not joining sooner.” 

That’s what Auburn Examiner founder Elizabeth Miller says about her LION membership – and we’d love to show you why more than 400 independent publishers have joined her as members. 

Need more info? You can learn more about LION membership on our website, or by emailing with questions about how LION can support you.

What we're reading

Toxic positivity. There’s a fine line between optimism and delusion, and news business leaders are among those at risk of falling on the wrong side of it. (The Rebooting)

Subscriber retention. News consumers cancel their subscriptions for many of the same reasons. The latest data can help you learn how to keep them. (Nieman Lab

Co-op(portunities). As more news businesses pursue co-operative ownership models, the pros and cons of co-ops are coming into focus. (Indiegraf)

Choose your sponsors wisely. Sponsored content is a growing revenue stream for local news, but publishers that don’t set strict standards risk harming their reputations. (NBC News

Telling the truth. The three-source rule in journalism is meant to make news coverage more accurate, but when it comes to covering abortion in a post-Roe America, a recent case suggests journalists may need to adapt. (Nieman Lab

LIONs in the news

You’ve probably heard about corporate media chains gobbling up local newspapers (sigh) – but that only makes it sweeter to report that a Gannett-owned weekly in rural Iowa was recently purchased by… a LION member! 

Congrats and kudos to the Indianola Independent Advocate's own Amy Duncan and Mark Davitt for purchasing the Indianola Record-Herald from Gannett and making plans to continue publishing it under local ownership. 

We love to see it, and we hope this is just the beginning.

And in other LION member news…

Get in touch

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