LION Publishers
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LION Publishers

Introducing LION’s newest hire: Membership and Communications Manager Kelsey Ryan

In this new role, Kelsey will help LION better tell its story to other current and aspiring local news entrepreneurs.

Image courtesy of Kelsey Ryan

Today I am thrilled to introduce our membership and communications manager and newest colleague: Kelsey Ryan. In this new role, she will be leading our communications strategy, helping us manage and grow LION’s membership base and assist with programming, including our evolving plans for the annual Summit and our second-ever awards program. She’ll also be helping out with existing programming for our members, including our monthly LION Lessons, Project Oasis, and the LION Expert Network (more on that soon!).

After speaking with a dozen impressive and passionate candidates, Kelsey stood out to us for a number of reasons.

Kelsey is currently the founder and publisher of The Beacon, an independent local news publication in Kansas City, Missouri, that’s focused on in-depth, public interest journalism and is a LION member. The Beacon, which is also a Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge grantee, recently soft-launched, and Kelsey will continue to fundraise and steer the ship toward its continued sustainability.

While working to launch The Beacon, Kelsey was also working full-time as the outreach manager for the National Freedom of Information Coalition, a nonprofit alliance of state coalitions promoting free press, litigation and legislative reforms to ensure transparency in state and local governments. While there, she did much of the work that we’re hoping she’ll help us with at LION: overseeing internal and external communications, helping to organize and execute the national Freedom of Information annual Summit and helping manage and grow the membership.

Previously, Kelsey worked as a data and investigative reporter at The Kansas City Star, where her team was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and before that, a data journalist at The Wichita Eagle and an education reporter at The Joplin Globe. Kelsey is on the board of directors for the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), and just recently wrapped a week in Los Angeles with the Online News Association’s Women Leadership Accelerator.

Besides being an incredibly impressive human being, Kelsey’s career speaks to her commitment to local journalism, and her efforts at The Beacon highlight her determination to help local news become sustainable. That’s why we think she’ll be an outstanding advocate and resource for our members, and a significant value-add to our team at LION.

During the interview process, we discussed with Kelsey, and as a team, how to ensure full transparency about her status as a LION member as well as a LION staff member. While Kelsey will certainly be in tune to opportunities that will benefit her as a publisher, we all agreed to radical transparency with our membership and external stakeholders so there’s no perception of preferential treatment or favoritism. So today we’re also sharing with you our new staff disclosure statements page — each staff member’s past and present affiliations relevant to the work we do at LION.

We value and appreciate your trust in our growing association, and help us in joining welcoming Kelsey to our team!



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Anika Anand

Anika Anand

Deputy director, LION Publishers