Lance Knobel, Tasneem Raja, Frances Dinkelspiel and Tracey Taylor.
The founders of Cityside (l. to r.): Lance Knobel, Tasneem Raja, Frances Dinkelspiel and Tracey Taylor. Photo: Celeste Noche

Cityside, the nonprofit parent of Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside, has been named Publisher of the Year 2020 by Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION), 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 excellent coverage of a community over a prolonged period of time; strong online and offline engagement with audience; a 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 vision and principles Cityside has built for its role in the community is powerful.”

Speaking of the decision to bestow the award to Cityside, the judges said, “The vision and principles they’ve built for their role in the community is powerful.”

Cityside won in the “large” publisher category. The two other finalists in that category were Richland Source, a digital local news outlet in North Central Ohio, and Public Source, a nonprofit digital-first news organization that delivers public-service reporting and analysis in the Pittsburgh region.

The LION award celebrates the best of independent online media across the U.S. and Canada, from “solopreneurs” to large newsrooms. Judges from across the industry evaluated 169 entries from LION members. (Read more about the awards and see a list of the judges at the LIONs Awards webpage.)

Cityside, a nonprofit civic journalism platform, was founded in December 2019 by Berkeleyside’s three co-founders, Frances DinkelspielLance Knobel and Tracey Taylor, and Tasneem Raja, founder of The Tyler Loop and now editor-in-chief of The Oaklandside. In time, Cityside will be launching more nonprofit civic journalism platforms to help address the crisis in local news.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...