Column: Membership in LION marks milestone for The Elmhurst Titan

(LION logo courtesy of LION Publishers)

ELMHURST – It’s very likely that The Elmhurst Titan would not exist today if it wasn’t for LION Publishers.

LION stands for Local Independent Online News. It’s an association of publishers from across the U.S. who support one another in exploring the next frontier in local news. While so many other forms of media are in distress, independent online news is a small but growing sector.

If the future of some local newspapers is grim, online news may be the thing that keeps local news coverage from withering away completely.

If the future of some local newspapers is grim, online news may be the thing that keeps local news coverage from withering away completely. And in the aftermath of the implosion of Patch, independent online news can proceed at a more organic pace than any national conglomerate, growing as revenue grows rather than hoping that profitability is attainable somewhere far in the future.

The members of LION Publishers meet every year in Chicago for their annual conference, and I attended this past September hoping to find that the online news space was in better health than the print newspapers with which I’d spent the previous 19 years. I was looking for advice and expertise. Can one person alone start up a successful news website? Can I make a living at this? Are there others making a living at it?

What I learned was that with hard work, dedication and a willingness to take on new challenges, the answer to all my questions was “yes.” Many of the LION members were ex-print refugees like me, while others had never spent a day at a print newspaper. But almost all reported that given the choice, this is where they see the future of local journalism.

Buoyed by the positivity, encouragement and knowledge I experienced at the LION conference, I set out to launch my own site. Months of researching and planning through October, November and December were followed by a whirlwind January, gearing up for a launch at the end of that month.

Here I am, just a few weeks later, and I’m thrilled to be able to say that The Elmhurst Titan has been accepted as a provisional member of LION Publishers. That provisional part is because this site has been active for less than a year. The Titan had to pass through a stringent application and review process before being accepted, and now I have a direct line to the years of expertise of my fellow LION members for whatever challenge comes my way.

The stamp of approval from LION tells you that The Elmhurst Titan isn’t a hobby. This isn’t something I’m doing just for fun, although it has been a blast. This is a serious business, with aspirations to bring top-notch local news coverage to Elmhurst and its residents and businesses every single day. Membership in LION brings those goals one step closer to reality.

Dave Lemery is the editor and publisher of The Elmhurst Titan. New tips, advice and all other inquiries are welcome at or 331-209-8471.