Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of news organizations are you looking for?

We are focused on place-based local journalism, especially news organizations targeting unserved or underserved communities. News organizations can (and should) have topical focuses as well, but ultimately they should be grounded in a firm sense of place. At this time, we can only support organizations in the United States. Read our eligibility requirements for more details.

Do I need journalism experience to found a Tiny News Organization?

No! We're looking for anyone interested in building place-based local news in areas unserved or underserved by the current news ecosystem. We are especially interested in founders who come from backgrounds historically and systematically shut out of media ownership.

Our comprehensive training program, run by LION Publishers, will help you build a journalism business even if you have never worked in journalism before.

What is Tiny News Collective’s definition of local?

We want to help founders serve a defined, place-based community. Your geographical footprint may vary depending on where you are and what community you are trying to serve. The collective is not a great fit for organizations with a big founding team (5+) or a focus that’s defined broadly such as multi-state, national or international coverage.

What if my organization is already up and running?

Our initial focus is supporting founders who are just getting started and need our assistance setting up a business, learning the different aspects of running a news operation, and having a tech stack that can support their work.

Aside from our focus on supporting the creation of new organizations, there are two main factors that affect our ability to support a young organization that’s already up and running: migration of content and the legal structure of the collective.

We cannot facilitate the migration of content from an existing site to our publishing platform. The only options for an existing site are to “freeze” your existing website and begin publishing on our platform, or manually copy over content to our platform. The latter is less of a burden if you haven’t been publishing for very long.

The other challenge is if you have already registered your organization as a business. For the collective to be able to convey all of the benefits and risk reduction that we are making available, we are setting up the LLCs on behalf of the founders who join the collective. This means we can’t use your existing entity. The option here would be to basically set your existing entity to the side. You could then transfer all of your IP to that LLC when you depart the collective.

We know that resources are scarce and support is hard to find so we are actively talking about how we might support those who are already in business but still early in their journey and in need of the kind of resources we offer.

Do I have to use the entire technology stack?

Use of the majority of the technology stack is required. The configuration of various services, such as advertising and donations, is the same for all founders. You can choose not to use specific services, such as selling advertising, publishing newsletters, or enabling comments on your stories. However, we can’t support implementing an alternative platform to supply any of our offered services.

Will I be required to pursue specific revenue streams?

Our technology stack makes it possible for you to pursue multiple kinds of revenue streams such as donations, newsletter sponsorships or local advertising. We don’t prescribe what your revenue strategy has to be. We facilitate your ability to experiment and test in order to figure out what works best for your organization and your audience.

How do I sign up?

When our applications open, it will be announced on our homepage, guide to applying and in our monthly newsletter. In the meantime, you can sign up as an interested founder and we'll reach out with more information to help you refine your idea and prepare for applying. If you aren't applying but know of someone who you think might be a great fit for the collective, you can nominate a founder and we'll reach out to them.

What are the services the Tiny News Collective is offering?

The Tiny News Collective offers a low-cost, all-inclusive platform for building a news organization from scratch, with all the training and support necessary to succeed. We offer technology, training and back-office services. You can find more detail in our Collective Resources.

Who is working on the Tiny News Collective?

The Tiny News Collective is a collaborative project between News Catalyst and LION Publishers. See our about page for our full team.

Is there funding available to founders through the collective?

We do not provide startup funding to the members of the collective. Our focus is primarily reducing the costs, risks and time that it takes to get your organization started.

How much does the Tiny News Collective cost?

Our pricing model is still being finalized, but The Collective will be able to offer the platform, training, legal assistance, back-office services and everything else for around $100 per month -- a fraction of what it would cost on the open market. LION membership is included in the price, giving founders access to additional training and an entire community to learn from.

Will it be publicly announced if I join the collective?

Founders will have the option of having their name included with our announcement.

How long can I be in the Collective?

Our goal is to support new founders as they plan, build, test and grow their organization to a point where they are bringing in revenue and have some stability. Sustainability means different things to different people but our hope is that founders can reach a level of sustainability within about two years in the collective. We define success as founders outgrowing their need for our resources and support and wanting to migrate to a technology stack that can accommodate a growing team. We help you with this transition. Read more about the collective experience here.

How easy is it to leave the Collective when a news organization is ready?

Our unique legal structure – essentially a form of fiscal sponsorship – makes it easy to spin off a newsroom into an independent company. Our goal is to raise organizations to digital sustainability. Once they reach that point, we will encourage organizations to leave The Collective and become independent.

We are working closely with Newspack, a project of WordPress.com and the Google News Initiative, to ensure that when one of our newsrooms is ready to move to their platform, the migration will be seamless.

The Tiny News Collective is a collaborative project.

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