The last two years of the pandemic have delivered some incredible teaching moments on what it will take for independent news businesses to be sustainable.
Here’s what we’re seeing so far: Audience-centered journalism is inextricably linked to revenue, founders must understand how to manage their business’s finances, and all the journalistic impact in the world doesn’t matter if founders and/or their staff are burned out.
Our 2022 Independent News Sustainability Summit, hosted by LION Publishers, News Revenue Hub and RevLab at The Texas Tribune and sponsored by the Knight Foundation, will bring together independent news publishers to discuss these lessons by:
- Sharing what we’ve learned from coaching news publishers
- Bringing in other journalism and small business subject-area experts
- Facilitating conversations between publishers so they can hear and learn from one another’s work.
We’ll host the event from October 27–29 in Austin, TX. Our goal is to help independent news publishers consider their businesses holistically across editorial, operations, audience and revenue. Whether you bring staff from these various teams or attend as a small newsroom leader who wears all the hats, you’ll be able to participate in a wide range of sessions on how to build and run a sustainable business.
This gathering will be for independent news publishers who are primarily focused on digital publishing and local or single-subject news, industry experts from journalism-support organizations across the U.S. and globally, and stakeholders who want to financially support the future of the independent news industry.
The Summit will use LION’s framework of sustainability to design three tracks of programming: financial health, operational resilience and journalistic impact. Within each of these categories, we’ll focus on the very important topic of revenue generation, but also make room for crucial conversations on operations, product, impact measurement and other key topics founders need to master to run a sustainable news business. This conference will give publishers the tools, resources and best-of-industry advice on how to operationalize sustainability.
The conference will also feature the annual LION Awards ceremony and dinner, which recognizes excellence in local independent journalism, and other networking opportunities for attendees.
We want to acknowledge two things:
One, we’re still in the midst of a pandemic and understand that everyone has different comfort levels with attending an in-person gathering in Austin or elsewhere at this moment in time. We will use The Texas Tribune’s office policy, local case counts and the City of Austin’s policy to inform our own COVID protections. Attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination and booster. We will decide closer to the event date whether masks will be required.
Second, since deciding to host in Austin, the Texas governor proposed a policy discriminating against trans youth and their parents by equating access to essential gender-affirming healthcare as child abuse. This event is designed to focus on how to preserve and sustain public service journalism, the type of reporting that holds leaders accountable and shines a light on discriminative policies and legislation.
The News Revenue Hub is against discrimination of LGBTQ+ people. We will work together to ensure this conference — and any Hub event — is a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ attendees.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please reach out to our Chief Executive Officer, Mary Walter-Brown at [email protected]
Let’s work together to create an event that helps our industry sustain journalism during this critical time.
LION Publishers has more than 400 members who are local or single-subject independent news publishers across the U.S. and Canada, and has run programs and training on starting a news business, hiring and training staff in revenue roles, shoring up a strong operational foundation and other topics related to working toward sustainability.
News Revenue Hub is a nonprofit journalism support organization that provides tech infrastructure and consulting services to help newsrooms grow audience, develop products and manage membership programs. To date, we’ve helped independent news organizations raise more than $54 million in volunteer donations.
RevLab at The Texas Tribune RevLab is a training and innovation center housed within The Texas Tribune. Through open source sharing, RevLab strengthens the media ecosystem by teaching proven strategies to sustain, maintain and innovate in the business of news. More than 200 newsrooms have participated in a RevLab training.