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“I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Call it imposter syndrome, or trial by fire, or a steep learning curve – we’ve all felt it. And in the latest episode of News Guest, Outlier Media executive director Candice Fortman shares the advice she once received about how to deal with it. 

“You’re going to have really big wins, and you’re going to have really big challenges, and you’re going to mess up things that are going to make you feel bad,” Candice says. “[But] you’re going to learn how to do the job as you go.”

Here’s some other advice for first-time news founders you’ll hear in the season finale of News Guest:

  • Don’t wait to file your IRS paperwork. If you plan to operate your business as a nonprofit, Shasta Scout founder Annelise Pierce warns that it can take a long time to get official 501(c)3 status – and you might need to find a fiscal sponsor in the meantime.
  • Start thinking about revenue early. RevLab director Emily Dresslar says founders should build a revenue strategy right out of the gate and even consider trying to get sponsors or advertisers on board before launch. 

On our first season of News Guest, we talked about innovative revenue streams. We got real about the human side of running a news business. We learned what it takes to translate journalistic impact into sustainable local funding

And in every episode, we heard from founders about the joys, challenges, wins and struggles that come with building an independent news business, no matter how big or small.

Thank you to everyone who listened, and extra special thanks to Candice for hosting such insightful and candid conversations.

You can catch all of News Guest Season 1 on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your audio. And while you're there, help us grow the show by rating, reviewing and subscribing!

Want to join our team for Season 2? We're hiring a News Guest producer-editor to help us release six new episodes between May and November 2022. Apply by April 29, and reply to this email with questions.

– Ben DeJarnette, communications manager, and the LION team

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17 ways to build a stronger news business

ICYMI, we’re partnering with the Google News Initiative to offer 100 Sustainability Audits for LION members this year, and up to $6,000 in funding for each organization. 

Learn more about the LION-GNI Sustainability Audits and Funding program, and apply by end-of-day Monday, April 18, for the first audit cycle. 

Now here are 17 other opportunities and resources to help you build a more sustainable news business.

Increase your journalism's impact

  • Republish data-driven journalism from a trusted newswire. Stacker provides publishers with engaging data journalism on topics that local audiences care about — all at no cost. Sign up for a demo. (Sponsored)

Earn more revenue

  • Hear what’s working for LION member Richland Source at a webinar with publisher Jay Allred and platform director Zac Hiser. (April 19)

Improve your business operations

  • Prepare your business to survive without you at a virtual workshop about planning for vacations, emergencies or even retirement. (May 17)

Check out these grants, awards, fellowships, and conferences

  • Pay for conference costs or another career development opportunity with a $1,000 LaunchPad grant. (Apply by April 15; entry-level, U.S.-based journalists only)

Become a LION member

LION members get access to exclusive training, funding, coaching and community opportunities designed specifically to help independent news publishers build, launch, and grow more sustainable news businesses

You can learn more about LION membership on our website, or by emailing our membership director Stephanie Snyder with questions about how LION can support you.

What we're reading

Getting readers to pay. What publishers need to do (and stop doing) to convert more newsletter readers to paying subscribers. (Simon Owen’s Media Newsletter)

The problem with programmatic ads. Publishers often turn to programmatic advertising for easy money, but a large share of their potential revenue gets gobbled up by ad-tech fees, which are rarely consistent or transparent. (Marketing Brew)

Intellectual property rights (and wrongs). Journalists don’t usually own the content, products or other intellectual property they create for an employer. A solution? Going independent. (Poynter)

OK, Boomers! People over 50 and retirees are stepping in to help fill gaps left by local newspapers, with Report for America launching an “Experienced Corps” and City Bureau recruiting them as citizen journalists. (AARP)

Heads in the sand. Hundreds of news businesses declined to participate in the news industry’s largest diversity survey, again. (Nieman Lab)

LIONs in the news

Everything is bigger in Texas, and one of the country’s leading nonprofit news sites is taking that to heart.

LION member The Texas Tribune announced plans this week to become less “Austin-centric” by expanding its presence around the state, especially in rural communities outside the major metros.

The Tribune will hire reporters in the Panhandle-South Plains, East Texas, Rio Grande Valley and Permian Basin regions, along with a regional editor to oversee their coverage.

Read more in Nieman Lab about The Texas Tribune’s expansion plans and vision for statewide coverage.

And in other LION member news…

  • AfroLA is getting closer to launch! Founded by Dana Amihere, AfroLA now has a public website and accounts on Twitter and LinkedIn, and Dana is working toward a full launch in early 2023.
  • Washington City Paper is ditching print. The 41-year-old alt-weekly will publish its last print edition next month, allowing the publication to lean into its digital future.

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