Chicago – Local Independent Online News Publishers announced a grant of $250,000 that will go toward helping local newsrooms find sustainable business plans using advertising, sponsored content, email newsletters and native advertising. Ten independent online news organizations will take part in the 18-month program.
The grant, from Democracy Fund, was announced Friday at LION’s annual conference in Chicago.
"I think there's a growing consensus that the significant reductions we've seen in local journalism across the country will be turned around by grassroots efforts springing up from individual communities – local independent online news sites,” said Matt DeRienzo, LION’s executive director. “The Democracy Fund has been way out in front in thinking about the health of local news ecosystems, and we're excited about this effort to build capacity at the local level to make journalism sustainable."
The program, according to a press release, will be specific to each market and focus on building an ad model from local businesses with the help of mentoring from experienced independent publishers. The program will also document best practices for small local news organizations.
The 10 newsrooms haven’t yet been chosen, DeRienzo said. LION will set up a process to allow publishers to apply. You can follow what's happening at LION17 here.