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LION Summit: Local independent online news publishers roar back to Chicago
Growing revenue ★ Enhancing reporting ★ Cultivating community
The annual LION Summit will return to Chicago on Oct. 1-3 at the downtown campus of Columbia College Chicago. It will feature an array of speakers, panel discussions and networking opportunities devoted to revenue ideas and best practices, community engagement and sustainability.
LION Publishers nearly 130 members in 32 states and Washington, D.C., representing both for-profit and nonprofit business models — all independently owned and operated and devoted to local journalism.
The organization's gathering in Chicago Oct. 1-3 will be opportunities for members to discuss common issues and problems, share success stories and encourage the founding of new local news sites. Each event will feature an informative slate of speakers, workshops and panels on topics relating to local publishing, covering real-world strategies for revenue, hands-on technology demonstrations, effective reporting tips, and experts speaking on business and legal issues.
- Thursday, Oct. 1, registration will open at 4 p.m., with an evening reception and networking event.
- Friday, Oct. 2, sessions will run all day, roughly 9 a.m.-6 p.m., with an evening gathering.
- Saturday, Oct. 3, sessions will again run all day, roughly 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
In addition to valuable member panels offering practical advice and blueprints for revenue and journalism ideas that have worked elsewhere, LION has lined up an impressive roster of speakers. They will include Michele McLellan, whose "Michele's List" has been a pioneering inventory of independent local news and who recently authored a major Tow-Knight Center study on best practices in online local advertising sales; Jan Schaffer of J-Lab, who will speak about legal issues facing online news sites; Jake Batsell, journalism professor at Southern Methodist University and a Knight fellow at the Texas Tribune who recently wrote a book about community engagement at news organizations; and David Boraks, who will offer lessons learned after deciding recently to close down his pioneering Davidson News site in North Carolina.
Other topics will include dozens of new advertising and alternative revenue ideas, native advertising, database reporting and visualization made easy, reaching minority communities, solutions journalism, mobile solutions and preserving digital archives.
LION Publishers has arranged a block of rooms for Oct. 1, 2 and 3 at the Best Western Grant Park Hotel in Chicago, near the site of the summit, at a special discounted rate of $169 for single rooms and $179 for double/double rooms. Call the hotel at (800) 472-6875 or (312) 922-2900 and mention "LION" to reserve a room. Our group rate will be honored up to three days before and after the conference, based on availability. The deadline for obtaining the special LION rate is Sept. 1, but the block of rooms could be filled up by then, so act soon.
Need a roommate? Use our list to help find someone to split hotel costs.
The 2015 LION Summit is sponsored in part by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Broadstreet Ads, Bizyhood, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Guarantee Digital, the Poynter Institute and Columbia College Chicago.