Madison365 has earned two national awards in the inaugural Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION Publishers) Awards, including Publisher of the Year.
At the LION Publishers annual conference in Nashville, Madison365 was given the Publisher of the Year in the small newsroom category for its work to serve communities of color, and for its innovation in creating the Wisconsin Leadership Summit.
Judges cited “an events and expertise-leveraging expansion, and a site that is filling quite a need in amplifying and connecting people of color in Madison,” in naming Madison365 Publisher of the Year, calling Madison365 a “break-through publication.”
Madison365 also won Best Breaking News Coverage for its reporting on an incident of violence by a teacher against a Black student at Whitehorse Middle School in February. Madison365 was the first news outlet to confirm and report the incident, which led to the resignation of the teacher. He was not charged criminally.
“Great, thoughtful reporting on a tough topic,” the judges wrote in their comments about the story. “It’s clear this story was reported with the community’s best interest at heart, not reported for the clicks or the attention. That goes a long way to show what kind of trust Madison365 is building within its community.”
“Since we launched four years ago, we’ve been committed to serving our community through the highest quality journalism,” said 365 Media Publisher and CEO Henry Sanders. “To be recognized by our peers across the country as among the best local online news outlets just validates that commitment. I’m incredibly proud of our reporting team and all the work they do every day to tell the stories and amplify the voices of communities of color in Madison and across Wisconsin. I’d also like to thank Mikeya Price, the mother who trusted us to tell her story.”
Other finalists for Best Breaking News Coverage were ThisIsReno and the Tucson Sentinel. Other finalists for Publisher of the Year were Racine County Eye and Tucson Sentinel.
LION Publishers has nearly 250 members in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Award nominations were judged by Amara Aguilar, USC Annenberg; Christine Schmidt, Nieman Lab; Courtney Cowgill, University of Montana; Craig Silverman, BuzzFeed; Dana Coester, West Virginia University; Dawn Garcia, JSK Fellowships; Doug Mitchell, Next Generation Radio; Eve Pearlman, Spaceship Media; Jane Elizabeth, Charlotte News & Observer; Jessica Pucci, Arizona State University; Jim Rutenberg, New York Times; Julia B. Chan, Mother Jones; Ken Doctor, Newsonomics; Kristen Hare, Poynter; Laura Owen, Nieman Lab; Reuben Stern, University of Missouri.