The Berkeleyside team at work. Photos: Berkeleyside

Berkeleyside has been named a finalist for Publisher of the Year in the inaugural awards of the Local Independent Online News (LIONs), a peer-run nonprofit whose mission is to foster the viability and excellence of locally focused independent online news organizations.

The Publisher of the Year award recognizes “general excellence in editorial coverage of a community or subject over a prolonged period of time; strong online and offline engagement with audience; solid business plan with diversified revenue streams; strength of new initiatives, including innovation in editorial or business; and leadership in support and collaboration with other LION members.

The two other finalists in the Publisher of the Year category are Richland Source, a digital local news outlet in North Central Ohio, and Wausau Pilot and Review, an independent nonprofit newsroom in central Wisconsin.

Judges for the LION awards included Craig Silverman, Media Editor of BuzzFeed; Dawn Garcia, Director of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford; Jim Rutenberg, media columnist for the New York Times; Julia B. Chan, Director of Audience at Mother Jones; Ken Doctor of Newsonomics; Kristen Hare, author at Poynter; and Laura Hazard Owen, Deputy Editor of Nieman Lab.

Berkeleyside was launched in October 2009 as an independent local news site for Berkeley by journalists Frances Dinkelspiel, Lance Knobel and Tracey Taylor. The team now numbers seven and Berkeleyside is seen as a pioneer in the field of online local journalism. In 2019, Berkeleyside averaged 1 million monthly page-views and 300,000 unique visitors a month. This year the Berkeleyside founders were selected to receive the Benjamin Ide Wheeler Medal honoring members of the community in any field whose work has benefited the people of Berkeley.

The winners of the LION awards will be announced at the LION Summit in Nashville on Oct. 25.

Berkeleyside is Berkeley, California’s independently-owned local news site. Learn more about the Berkeleyside team. Questions? Email