Our main takeaways from the 2019 LION Publishers Summit

More than 200 independent publishers, writers, and business owners gathered in Music City Center in the heart of Nashville, TN last month for the 2019 Annual Summit for  Local Independent Online (LION) Publishers. Throughout the three-day conference, attendees heard from industry experts, innovative publishers and partners and had an opportunity to participate in spirited conversations regarding the future of online publishing. Between meeting award-winning publishers from across the country to being face-to-face with representatives from Facebook and Google, this conference is always worth the trip. Here are a few takeaways that left us feeling inspired:

There is Much to Celebrate

This year, LION Publishers came together to celebrate the inaugural LION Publisher Awards. These awards recognize excellence in journalism, business, and technology at local independent online news publishers around the country. LION named 45 publishers as finalists for its inaugural awards across 15 categories, including Business Idea of the Year, presented by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, Technology Innovation of the Year, presented by Facebook, and Best Solutions Journalism Project of the Year, presented by Solutions Journalism Network, which includes a $2,000 grant for the winner to produce another solutions journalism project in the next year.

It is motivating to see the amazing and important work of publishers across the country, whether they are providing daily news, in-depth stories on one or two topics, or lifestyle content. Publishers are innovating and learning from each other so that all of us can better serve our readers and our communities. It is also validating to have companies like Google and Facebook publicly invest in local journalism.

Local Stories Matter

With newsrooms across the nation making cuts or closing their doors, our communities need local stories written by local residents now more than ever. While trust in media is low for national news, research shows that trust remains high for local news organizations. Although Clutch MOV does not publish hard-hitting or daily news, we do help fill gaps in local coverage and tell stories that matter. You can trust our writers to care about our community because we come from your community – we are your neighbors, coworkers, volunteers, and friends. And we hope to continue to earn your trust with each story we publish.

The Bias Hype is Largely Hype

We can’t speak for national news outlets, but we’ve found that the bias hype in local newsrooms is just that – hype. Those of us running local, online, independent publications aren’t doing so for the money, or to push a political agenda or opinion. We do it because we believe the service we provide adds value to our community. We do it because we care.

Free isn’t always free

Every year, part of the discussion focused on how publishers can generate enough income to continue providing content to their readers. Some choose to run sponsored content, others install a paywall, limiting access. Clutch MOV is committed to providing our content at no charge, but we still need to generate enough revenue to be able to compensate our hard-working and talented volunteers. We recognize that we will need help from our audience to continue operating and we believe quality, local content is well worth the investment.

How can you support us? Subscribe to our email list. Invite your family, friends, and neighbors to like our Facebook page or follow us on Instagram. If you own a local business, advertise with us. Not only will you connect with our awesome, engaged audience, but you’ll also be supporting positive local stories. I’d love to talk with you about how you can support Clutch MOV – feel free to email me at Sarah@clutchmov.com.

While Clutch MOV is not a hard news publication, we are a hyper-local publisher, telling the stories of Mid-Ohio Valley through editorial coverage of, for and by members of our community. We are so grateful to be part of the LION family and hope to take advantage of more opportunities in 2020!