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Staying Connected

LION Magazine still serves to keep Lions connected and up-to-date almost a century after its first issue was published.

LION Magazine still serves to keep Lions connected and up-to-date almost a century after its first issue was published.

Staying Connected

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Touchstone Story #29

In November 1918, just as World War I was ending, a new service organization based in Chicago released a short magazine to keep members informed and excited about their growing association. Its circulation was small, but Lions Clubs International determined the publication would benefit members, clubs and, as stated in the first issue, “the great causes in which they are all interested.” The idea was a perfect fit. Lions Club Magazine, later renamed LION Magazine, has been published ever since.

While LCI has grown far beyond its U.S. roots to become a global organization of more than 1.35 million members, LION Magazine has remained an essential communication piece for the organization. Through stories of service and friendship, Lions can keep up with their fellow Lions locally and around the world.

The first, 32-page magazine set a precedent. It opened with a speech by International President L.H. Lewis. It published news from the most recent international convention, activities from individual clubs, a few human interest stories and photos of Lions.

To help get the magazine up and running, members of the Lions Club of Chicago purchased the majority of the early ads. Melvin Jones, Lions Clubs’ founder and secretary-treasurer, even placed one ad for Melvin Jones Insurance: “If you think your rate is too high, phone Wabash 400.”

Today, 33 editions of the magazine are printed in 20 languages, and digital and audio versions help ensure Lions can access the news wherever they go. The English-language headquarters edition has the largest circulation—360,000—and covers Lions clubs in the United States and Canada. All editions have a local focus, but each magazine contains some consistent content, such as the president’s column or articles on the SightFirst campaigns.

Editors regularly pull stories and images from each other, yet because Lions are so active in their communities it is impossible for any single edition to share all of the great stories in its own area, much less of the whole organization. “We have to make hard decisions sometimes,” Jay Copp, senior editor of the headquarters edition said, “but we do our best to be representative and include club news submitted to us.”

Lions are proud of their organization and want others to understand their work and what it means to be a Lion. The LION Magazine helps spread the word, often circulating beyond members and appearing in city halls and dentists’ waiting rooms. “For us,” Copp said, “it’s a sacred duty to always put out a good magazine to reflect the world of Lions and tell our story.”

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