AboutScheduleTravelFAQsLION Local Journalism AwardsRegister
Logo for Independent News Sustainability Summit: Austin 2022

Open Call for Session and Speaker Pitches

Please complete the form below by 5pm ET on Tuesday, July 12 to pitch an idea for a session, indicate your interest in being a speaker, recommend a speaker or to share a practical insight or example to be featured at the Summit.

Summit Themes and Topics

We are looking for session ideas and speakers to address these core themes in support of independent news businesses. We are interested in session ideas, subject matter expertise and first-hand experiences related to:

  • Revenue generation ideas, strategies and skills for advertising, memberships, sponsorships, philanthropy and more
  • Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging 
  • Burnout among staff and leadership
  • Impact measurement for journalism
  • Hiring, onboarding and retaining staff
  • Management and leadership strategies for news leaders
  • Operations and financial management for news businesses
  • Tools and technology for news businesses
  • Product development
  • Audience research, audience development, audience engagement

Call for Submissions. We are seeking:

Session ideas related to these core themes. Pitch a complete session idea, including the concept, format and guest speakers. We can work with you to refine your session idea to align with the conference goals and other programming.

Engaging speakers and presenters with subject matter expertise. If you have experience related to the conference topics that you’d like to contribute but don’t have a clear session idea in mind, we can work with you to identify a session that might be a good fit.

Direct experiences, successes, lessons learned, best practices and other insights related to the conference themes. These brief insights may not be suited to a full conference session but could be incorporated into panel discussions, lightning chats, Q&As or other conference sessions.

For your inspiration and consideration, here are some sample session ideas and insights:

How to design a newsletter that drives habit and loyalty (Workshop): Newsletters are one of the most important tools for developing a relationship with readers who you can eventually turn to for donations or contributions. We’ll walk you through the News Revenue Hub’s newsletter development process and help you determine the most important things you’ll need to create a successful newsletter.

Sharpen Your Elevator Pitch (Workshop): This hands-on working session with expert marketers and fundraisers will help you sharpen a 30-second and 5-slide elevator pitch of your product and what to consider when adapting your pitch to different audiences.

Rightsizing Your Tech Stack (Presentation): In this session, we’ll walk through the key elements of a tech stack for news businesses and some of the most popular tools available and provide a framework for assessing what’s best for your organization.

A suggested insight: In 2021, we launched a new newsletter product that has helped us reach [new audience] and increased sponsorship revenue by [amount]. I’d like to briefly share how we designed the newsletter and sold new sponsorships against it.

Criteria for Sessions and Speakers

We will use the following criteria to assess potential sessions and speakers.

  • Alignment with the Summit’s core themes. 
  • A diversity of viewpoints that represent communities and experiences from across the independent media landscape.
  • Sessions that are engaging and participatory, including sessions that involve attendees creating or co-creating products, tools or resources they can apply to their news businesses.
  • Experience level and expertise of speakers in the independent media ecosystem and/or in relation to the core themes. This could also include on-the-ground experience with a particular topic.

Support for Speakers

We encourage anyone with a good idea or experience to complete a submission. We’ll work with you to refine your session idea, match you with a comfortable session format and provide you resources to help you prepare. If you’re a first-time conference speaker who needs more support, we can provide extra guidance.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

  • Proposals for session ideas or speakers are due by 5pm ET on Tuesday, July 12.
  • Conference sessions should be 50 or 100 minutes in length.
  • We will provide microphones and a projector for each session.
  • Speakers will receive a complimentary registration for the Summit. Travel scholarships may also be available based on need and availability of funds.

Submit Your Pitch

The Independent News Sustainability Summit is hosted by LION Publishers, News Revenue Hub and RevLab at The Texas Tribune. Thank you to Knight Foundation for being our presenting sponsor, and to The Lenfest Institute and Google News Initative for supporting this conference.