Hyperlocal Trade Org LION Hits 75 Members

LION, a new trade organization for hyperlocal news sites, has signed up 75 inaugural members as part of its initial membership drive, surpassing its original goal of 50 members by the end of 2012, the group announced Thursday.

Less than two months after starting its membership drive, Local Independent Online News Publishers, the new trade organization for hyperlocal news sites, has recruited 75 inaugural members, the association announced Thursday.

"We're very proud to have a broad membership that represents the depth of success of local online news sites," Dylan Smith, chairman of LION's board of directors and editor and publisher of TucsonSentinel.com, said in a statement. "We easily surpassed our goal of 50 members by year's end."

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Most of the new members have paid dues for three years in advance, Smith said.

LION's organization and recruiting were underwritten by The Patterson Foundation, which provided funding for LION Publisher's incorporation and matched up to 50% of the dues of the first members.

By early December, the organization had recruited about 60 hyperlocal news sites from across the country, including New York's Riverhead Local, Virginia's Charlottesville Tomorrow, Minneapolis/St. Paul’s Twin Cities Daily Planet, The Ann Arbor Chronicle and San Antonio's Plaza de Armas.

LION was established by a working group that first met at the 2011 Block by Block Community News Summit in Chicago. A year of organizational outreach and planning culminated with the public announcement of the group in September 2012, when LION began to sign up members.

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