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Summer is heating up (at least here in Portland! 😅), and so is LION’s programming lineup for independent news publishers

Here are the latest LION resources and opportunities in case you missed them:

As always, the best way to keep up with LION opportunities is through this weekly newsletter, so make sure to sign up here if this email was forwarded to you, and look for us in your inbox every Thursday morning. 

– Ben DeJarnette, communications manager, and the LION team

16 ways to build a stronger news business

Have you ever stepped foot in your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC)? 

We often include workshops in this newsletter from the national organization SCORE, but there are also local SBDCs in both urban and rural communities, and they’re really helpful!

So if you need help learning business skills like accounting or raising capital, go find an SBDC near you (and let us know if you’d recommend it to other publishers). 

In the meantime, here are 16 other ways to build a stronger, more sustainable news business.

Earn more revenue

  • Raise money together. The Lenfest Institute is hosting a virtual conversation tomorrow about how the Chicago Independent Media Alliance raised more than $330K to support dozens of local outlets. (July 29)
  • Button up your asks. This case study from the Meta Journalism Project’s Accelerator program is full of insights about how using buttons can drive revenue and newsletter signups. 
  • Get ideas for your membership program. The Guardian has reached 1 million recurring paid members without implementing a paywall, and publishers big and small can learn a lot from its success.
  • Celebrate Christmas in July. That’s the fun premise behind this fundraising pitch by Bucket List Community Cafe (a LION member) – and there’s no reason you can’t also celebrate the holidays in August.
  • Take advantage of free advertising credits. Nonprofit newsrooms may qualify for a Google program that offers up to $10,000 of ad credits per month.

Improve your business operations

  • Find tools to improve your tech stack. The LION’s Tools & Services Directory is a compilation of the most popular tools we know about for accounting, publishing, analytics and more. 

Increase your impact

  • Trade ideas for writing better newsletters. ONA is hosting an idea-swapping meetup for newsletter editors, producers and anyone interested in starting or improving a newsletter product for news. (August 19)

Check out these grants, awards, fellowships, and conferences

  • Pitch your best podcast idea. Three finalists will get to deliver a live pitch at the RESONATE Podcast Festival in Richmond, Virginia. (Deadline: August 23)
  • Enter the ‘Local that Works’ contest. The $20,000 cash prize will go to an organization that “demonstrates the power of local media to inform, engage, educate, inspire, convene, and transform communities.” (Deadline: August 23)
  • Talk community news in Chicago. Request an invitation to the Google News Initiative’s Community News Summit on August 16. The event will focus on successes and challenges in running small, community-oriented news organizations.

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

No “off” elections. Why KPCC decided to double down on election coverage for the June primaries, and how they know it paid off. (KPCC)

Digital first, but not forever? Why a digital media executive left her job at The Economist to start a small-town print newspaper. (The Washington Post)

The science of burnout. How bad systems can cause good people to experience burnout, and what organizations can do to address it. (Stanford Social Innovation Review

Leaning into local. What INN learned from its annual member survey about the growing momentum of local nonprofit news. (Nieman Lab)

Putting DEI values into practice. How to measure your newsroom’s equity and inclusion efforts. (The Lenfest Local Lab)

LIONs in the news

Last month a LION member was buying up a Gannett newspaper. This month another one is expanding, this time with support from the American Journalism Project.  

Congrats to Verité, a sister newsroom of LION member Mississippi Today, for receiving AJP funding to help it launch a nonprofit, solutions-focused newsroom in New Orleans. 

Learn more about Verité and the other news organizations receiving grants from AJP. 

And in other LION member news…

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