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What happens when a lifelong journalist becomes an editor, publisher, salesperson, and marketing lead?

Like many LION members, Philomath News founder Brad Fuqua is learning to wear many hats for his small organization — even the ones that aren't a natural fit. 

“I’m only scratching the surface on advertising,” Brad shared in our Slack AMA last week. “It’s not the fun part of the job — yes, I’m a career newsman and in most places, we hardly even ever talked to advertising reps on the other side of the building. However, I realize that it’s something I’ll need to master.” 

Brad definitely isn’t alone. 

As the independent local news industry has grown, we’ve learned that it’s extremely rare for founders to launch their business with all the skills and experience they need, especially on the business side. 

That’s why we launched our GNI Startups Boot Camp with the Google News Initiative last year, and why we’re bringing it back in 2021.   

The Boot Camp is an eight-week crash course on how to launch and grow an independent local news startup, and aspiring founders in the U.S. can now apply until August 1. (Applications for our Canadian program will open later this year.)

Here’s the full scoop on this year’s Boot Camp. We’re hosting our next information session on Thursday, July 15, and we’d love your help spreading the word. 

Ben DeJarnette, communications manager, and the LION team

P.S. You can read the full AMA conversation with Brad Fuqua in the News Entrepreneur Community Slack group — or stay tuned for a full recap on our website soon.

The latest opportunities for LIONs

Usually in this weekly newsletter we curate a list of independent news opportunities offered by LION and other organizations. That full list  which today includes nine opportunities to win grants, apply for awards and learn new revenue tactics  is now available to LION members only. 

Below is a sneak peek. 

💰 Apply for the North America GNI Innovation Challenge, which will award up to $200,000 to selected local news projects focused on better understanding and serving the needs of communities. Deadline: August 26

🌟 Apply for a training and grant program for journalists of color looking to develop their personal brand and engage audiences. Deadline: July 15

To see our full list of opportunities for independent publishers each week — and to access all the other benefits of LION membership — apply to become a member or reach out to membership manager Cassie Balfour for more information.

What we're reading

Who’s paying for news? A Reuters study found that 21 percent of Americans now pay for online news — often with more than one organization. (Nieman Lab)

Meet the new Substack competitor. Facebook won’t charge publishers to use its Bulletin newsletter platform, at least for now. (The New York Times)

You’ve got mail… at 4 a.m. Why a Kansas news nonprofit decided to publish its newsletter three hours earlier. (Indie Publisher)

New kids on the block. The local media startup 6AM City is expanding into 24 new cities and hiring dozens of editors. (6AM City

What are we trying to save here? Why we need to complicate the “save local news” mantra (Columbia Journalism Review)

Meet our director of finance & operations

We’re thrilled to welcome Lisa Hunter as LION Publishers’ director of finance and operations, a role in which she’ll take the lead on making sure LION continues to grow responsibly while serving its members and the broader independent news industry.

Lisa joins us from the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, where she served as finance director, and she’s the founding board treasurer of the nonprofit Marked by COVID

Outside of work, Lisa can be found teaching women’s self defense, hiking, meditating, or relaxing with a book and a cat. Welcome, Lisa!

LION member kudos

🎉 The Chester Telegraph was named the paper of record by The Chester Select Board, making it the first digital-only newspaper in Vermont to receive that designation.

🎉 The Devil Strip and Richland Source were profiled in a Local News Initiative report about innovative local news organizations in the Midwest.

🎉 Ten of the 26 newsrooms that won Sustainable Publishing Solutions grants to upgrade or adopt a new CMS are LION members. Roll call, please: Borderless Magazine, Charlottesville Tomorrow, The Devil Strip, El Tímpano, The Marjorie, The Mendocino Voice, QCity Metro, Southerly, Washington City Paper, and Wisconsin Watch.

🎉 Six of the winners of Substack Local, an initiative to help independent writers start local news enterprises, are now LION members. The line-up includes: Adam Stone, The Examiner News; Hanna Raskin, The Food Section; Melissa del Bosque and Todd Miller, The Border Chronicle; and Rachel Leingang and Hank Stephenson, Arizona News. Welcome!

🎉 The LION member community is growing fast, so each week we’ll introduce a few of our new members on a rolling basis:

  • OnSI, founded in 2020, is a podcast and digital publisher for Staten Island, New York, with a focus on sharing stories from the community.
  • Jackson Hole Community Radio, founded in 2019, produces innovative public radio programs and in-depth local news in Jackson, Wyoming.
  • The Border Chronicle, launching in 2021, will provide original reporting and analysis from the U.S.-Mexico border from its base in Tucson, Arizona.

Share your good news with us! We love to highlight member accomplishments that have an impact on your publication, especially related to sustainability. For example, did you: 

  • Recently hire a new staffer? 
  • Finish a project that generated revenue to support your work? 
  • Land a spot in a training program or snag a grant? 
  • Win an award for your outlet’s work? 
  • Something else that had a big impact on your work or community?

Let us know:

Get in touch

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