Group notes: 2016 LION Summit (Sat)

Session notes, links  & resources -

Panel discussion: Revenues

Eleanor Cippel | Coats 2 Coats


A panel discussion on effective revenue strategies.

Two types:

Lightning rounds: Editing, civic reporting, innovation & localism

Teresa Schmedding | ACES

Jan Schaffer | J-Lab

Tracie Powell | All Digitocracy

Christopher Ali | University of Virginia

Short presentations, followed by a quick Q&A session for each speaker.

Jan Schaffer

In many of our communities, we are starting to see news sites organizing around a subject they care about.  I.e.  

Doing news through a particular lens, we care about our city and planning.

People didn’t know about the program; and how it prep’d kids for kindergarten

“It was a judgement call.  We’re journalist, but we exist to make the school system better.”  Linda Lenz, - Creating Impact.   Hired a graphic artist to do a streetscape or a bad area showing what it would look like if it were cleaned up.  Was this ethical or is it social journalism?

The Newtown Bee - Focus on collaboration, rebuilding

Social Journalism - Commodity v Catalyst - addressing the safety of pedestrians and bikers. - She became the thought leader on the topic and there was a decrease in accidents.

New Taxonomies

“Can we help news organizations expand their focus beyond new business models for journalism and experiment with new journalism models for news.” 

Tracie Powell

Social media tools to use to reach people of color and younger users. - social media tools are our frienemies.  Not necessarily our enemies.

The Washington Post comes closest to personalization - laddering process using these tools - converting casual social media consumers to readers

Riveting follows the content readers eyes “going down the page” - they get a box that pops up that says “Would you like to read this story next or this story?”

Riveting attaches a user ID to you with a cookie

Another tool Clavis

Amazon’s recommendation system, super smart.

Laddering goes deeper than the basic demographics of age, sex, geography.  It uses buckets like Megan, interest in politics in her state, interest in human rights in Syria.  It basically creates a persona with a unique ID and it serves her more stories through Facebook because that is where she

Data helps you know what you should be covering and maybe even what you shouldn’t be.

Use data as a tool to learn more about your audience, don’t use it to judge a reporter.  Use it as a tool to build a relationship for community.

Go back to asking people to please register.  We would like your email address.  They give us a little something and we give them free news.  Partner with existing brands in the market to do giveaways and gather emails.

Laura Browning

Fact checking and editing your own work

How mistakes happen

Lack of resources



Brain lock

Hints that something to be checked


Internal inconsistency


Foreign languages, numbers, superlatives (first/last/most)

Sometimes just making your screen zoomed in will help you find an error.

Email her at



Christopher Ali, University of Virginia

What can local independent online news publishers learn from print media?

Research questions:

What is the state of small market newspapers in the United States?

How are they adapting

Phase 1:

50+ in-depth expert interviews

Owners, pubishers, editors, journalists, academics, researchers, funders and Local/digital media innovators

Phase II

Publishing in Nov/Dec 2016

Event at Tow Center on Feb 14, 2017

  1.  OPTIMISM - There’s a reason they’re called “legacy” media

Calhoun County Journal, Bruce, MS

Capitalize on the optimism and partnerships - give a shout out to partnership of Charlottesville Tomorrow and The Daily Progress

2.  DIGITAL SPACES AND PHYSICAL PLACES - you need to bring people together physically in a room and have a conversation

Coloradoan - Ft. Collins - hosts secretsupper clubs

The Texas Tribune Festival

Comes down to two things for Audience Engagement

Being at the center of the conversation in your community

What is the master narrative of your community

        3.   Diversifying revenue

Dallas Morning News

Events Company

Content marketing agency

Analytics company

Mixed marketing company

Charlotte Agenda - Good digital marketplaces, great twitter feed

5 on-going strategic challenges for small print newspapers

What to do with the print product?

Ownership (independent vs chains)


Cultural changes - how do you embrace digital tech

Learning what not to cover




Keynote: Why we do this work

Dylan Smith | LION/

A look at the state of local news, and why independent online publishers are vital to rebuilding journalism.

When we knew we were going to be bought and knew our jobs were going away, I said to my online news team.  Let’s go do this.  We couldn’t possibly (*&^ it up any worse than they did.  And the motto was…..Try not to suck - Dylan Smith

Why did we all get in?  A lot of us became publishers because we were laid off and just dove in.  I am proud of being part of a movement that is re-building local news with a business that is helping build a better community.  I am so pleased to be working with you guys making local news better again.

This conference is so different because the attitude is different.  Just on Friday Gannett laid off 1000 people.  That is 1000 new potential LION members.

Keynote: John Bracken of the Knight Foundation

John Bracken | Knight Foundation

John Bracken, vice president of the Media Innovation Program of the Knight Foundation, shares his thoughts on where the industry needs to move.

Charlie Ness said, “Technology is always out to get you.”

Thinking out loud about things Knight Foundation has been contemplating.

How do we bridge the two worlds with grant making taking advantage of these new approaches?

Informed and Engaged Communities

Focused on four areas

Journalism -

deeply in 8 cities

Arts Program

Technology and transformation/challenges

Code 2040 - insuring that black latinos have access to the internet - working for tech companies

New York Public Library

It’s impossible for any one scholar to be up to date in their field because of the massive amounts of information is becoming available.

Maker movement

Adaptability > efficiency   - it becomes more important to be efficient

Institutionally bilingual




Breakout A: Revenue discussion

Eleanor Cippel | Coats 2 Coats

Let's talk money.

Breakout B: Video discussion

Field Walsh | TXK Today

News video: How to produce it, and how to sell it to sponsors.

Breakout C: Google basics training

Mike Reilley | Google News Lab

How to use Google Trends to track search interest in various topics and convert them into embeddable, interactive graphics on your site. We'll also work with Google Reverse Image look-up to fact-check photos, and review other verification resources.

Breakout: Newspaper Deals/Content Usage Agreements

Doug Hardy /

Newspaper Contracts - Selling your content as a local news wire service can be a viable revenue stream. Newspapers are cutting back and often still have readers in a given town. If you give them the opportunity to buy your content - somewhere below the cost of a full staff member and within a range they can afford, they may opt to subscribe to your site as a wire service. This way they don't pay benefits or unemployment etc.

Eventually they may come to depend on you and the revenue will supplement your other revenue streams on your way to sustainability.

We call these deals Content Usage Agreements. Most newspapers are familiar with syndication and other wire services. They pay a fee to use other publications' content in print.

As an online entity, a good way to build traffic and equal value is to require your newspaper client to post an expanded aggregation online of every story they use in print. Expanded means a headline and 4-5 sentences and a link back to your original story. Enough to give them a new post on their site, but short enough that people will want to click through to your site to finish reading.

If you are not monetizing your traffic, you can provide your content for print without any reciprocal linkage back to your site if the price is right. But I don't recommend that.

If you are offering multiple stories per day with photos for their use, think in terms of trying to get as much as you can per story but set the rate as a flat fee. Maybe start around $1000-$1500 a month or something like that and set a floor somewhere so that they can negotiate downward. Try to meet them halfway between your ask and your floor.

You may want to require them to indemnify you in your contract from lawsuits brought on after changes made to your original content. Likely though, you can't offer to indemnify them or to defend them against lawsuits related to your content. You're not an insurance company. Try not to be required to defend your newspaper client either, because basically they are increasing your distribution and you don't likely have the resources to defend against larger damages. They should be reading your content before they publish it as well.

If you write long, don't require them to use the whole story or nothing because you'll find that newspapers need stories they can work with.

Sample agreement:

I recommend you have your attorney look over this agreement before you present it and also to have your attorney look it over once again if the client makes changes. It's a negotiation. Protect yourself.

Radio deals

Many broadcasters offer a different opportunity - they won't pay for your content. But if you turn it into a 2 minute newscast, they may offer you the opportunity to include 30-60 seconds of paid advertising in the "donut hole.". So you send them a mini newscast with your brand and 2 stories (1 minute) at the front, 1 minute of ads that you sold (4x15 - 2x30 or 1x60 seconds etc), and another 2 stories and an outro (1 minute) - and you now have a 3 minute segment that provides you the new option to sell radio spots within your advertising portfolio. Lots of logistics to overcome.

Josh Stearns of the Democracy Fund suggested that this firm might be of help in converting your online news stories to audio:

Good luck!

Breakout A: Hard times

Joe Hyde | San Angelo Live

Howard Owens | The Batavian


Forging ahead while weathering an economic downturn.

Breakout B: Nonprofit fundraising

Jennifer Choi | McCormick Foundation

Brian Wheeler | LION/Charlottesville Tomorrow

Trip Jennings | NM In Depth

Kim Clark | Noozhawk

Steve Beatty | LION/The Lens NOLA

How to build effective relationships with foundation, local donors and more.

Breakout C: Google MyMaps & Fusion Tables training

Mike Reilley | Google News Lab

An overview of MyMaps, practical examples and hands-on work with building them. We'll also use Google Fusion Tables to creative interactive, embeddable graphics.

Breakout: Unconference 2


Got a burning issue that hasn't been addressed? Pitch an unconference session prior to lunch on Saturday — organizers will pick three topics for informal discussions on Saturday afternoon.

Breakout A: Journalism & publishing judo

Matt DeRienzo | LION Publishers

How to take advantage of a legacy competitor's biggest weaknesses — in reporting and publishing.

Breakout B: TBA


TBA, t/k.

Breakout C: Google Street View & Earth training

Mike Reilley | Google News Lab

How to creative motion graphics in Google Earth and capture images. We'll also experiment with the Google Street View phone app in the field.

Breakout: Unconference 3


Got a burning issue that hasn't been addressed? Pitch an unconference session prior to lunch on Saturday — organizers will pick three topics for informal discussions on Saturday afternoon.

Closing: Lessons learned