Cardinal News has won first place in a competition sponsored by a national journalism organization. 

LION Publishers, which represents local, independent online news organizations, gave Cardinal its first place award for financial health in the medium/large revenue tier as part of its 2023 LION Local Journalism Awards.

The award recognizes a LION member that has achieved transformational impact for its organization’s financial health by making progress toward developing a plan for earning money, managing a budget, and/or monitoring revenue and expenses to extend its financial runway.  Cardinal was cited for accomplishing in one year what we intended to do in five by going from $300,000 in seed funding to more than quadrupling our annual budget. 

The judges said: “What truly stands out about Cardinal News is its dedication to quality journalism, underpinned by an ambitious growth strategy centered on diversifying its revenue sources. Their data-informed approach involves meticulously implementing revenue-generating efforts bolstered by a dedicated team, clear performance metrics, and appropriate technology infrastructure. This places them at the forefront of the sustainability game.”

“We are honored and humbled to be recognized for building a financially sound organization,” said Luanne Rife, executive director. “Our readers tell us all the time how much they appreciate our in-depth reporting. This LION award recognizes our success in creating and sustaining a vibrant news organization.” 

Cardinal was also a LION finalist in four other categories: Business of the Year, Outstanding Coverage, Public Service, Product of the Year.

Earlier, the Institute for Nonprofit News, a trade association for nonprofit news sites, named Cardinal its Startup of the Year.

Cardinal is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit news site that relies on reader donations, philanthropy grants and sponsorships. We disclose all of our donors.