Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to questions we’ve received. If you want to learn more about how Indiegraf works and ask your questions, get in touch.

What is Indiegraf?

Indiegraf is a network of journalist-entrepreneurs and independently-owned digital publishers sharing resources to serve their local communities sustainably. Indiegraf’s publishers pool resources including technology, marketing and revenue staff, funding opportunities and training needed to successfully grow digital outlets to fill local news gaps. The goal is to make it easier for entrepreneurial journalists to launch digital news outlets and become sustainable.

What does Indiegraf offer media entrepreneurs and small publishers? 

Indiegraf exists to help entrepreneurial journalists launch and grow digital news products. We do that in three ways: (1) By joining the Indie Network, small independent publishers are part of a community pioneering a better way for journalism. Network memberships gets you access to exclusive learning, funding and licensing opportunities. (2) Indie School helps you learn about news entrepreneurship. Start with our free newsletter, the Indie Publisher. When you’re ready to take the leap, the Indie News Challenge gets you from idea to your first subscribers in three months. (3) Indie Engine provides the infrastructure you need to succeed. It includes a tech stack optimized for small publishers and the marketing team you need to reach and drive revenue from your audience.

Are outlets working with Indiegraf editorially independent?

Yes. One of the things that we think is broken with the current system is that, ultimately, a lot of news outlets aren’t accountable to the people that they serve. We see our role as supporting journalist-entrepreneurs in coming up with great journalism products. We’re here to give advice and share best practices, but really it’s up to publishers to independently define what editorial value they’re creating for their community.

You’re funded by Google and Facebook. Do they have a say over Indiegraf or its publishers? 

Indiegraf is launching with support from four organizations: the Google News Initiative, Facebook Journalism Project, Inspirit Foundation and The Discourse. Google and Facebook provided arms-length seed funding that underwrites the cost of providing Indiegraf services to its first 10 publishers. They don’t own any part of Indiegraf or its partner publishers. Neither company has any say in Indiegraf decision-making, nor are we under any obligation to use their products.

How is Indiegraf connected to The Discourse?

Indiegraf grew out of the work of The Discourse, an award-winning local news publisher based in Vancouver. They share a mission: to contribute to a more equitable and sustainable news industry so that everyone has access to quality journalism. But they contribute to that mission in different ways. The Discourse produces local journalism for community members. Indiegraf serves news publishers, empowering entrepreneurial journalists to succeed. The Discourse owns part of Indiegraf, but they are completely separate entities.

What makes Indiegraf different from crowdfunding platforms?

We’re not a third-party crowdfunding site, like Patreon or Indiegogo. If you sign up for Indie Engine, you’ll be able to process payments right on your own website. You own your data and your relationship with your supporters. And more than just handing you the tech tools to raise money from your audience, we actually roll up our sleeves and help you do it. You receive dedicated marketing staff to design, build and execute your audience revenue campaigns.

What makes Indiegraf’s technology different from other content management systems?

We’ve built a bundle of technology tools that are optimized to help small digital publishers like you. You don’t need to be able to code to set up a beautiful news site. All the plugins and tools you need are already integrated, and we work with you to bring your brand to life through our system. A dedicated developer is shared between our publishers to ensure the technology is maintained and improved without costing an arm and a leg. And you access the tech tools you need for cheaper, because we can share the cost of digital subscriptions across the network.

If I sign up for your technology am I stuck with you forever?

No! You own your content, audience, supporters and data. You’re free to switch to another technology platform later on if Indiegraf doesn’t work for you. We want you to stay because we’ve done an awesome job, not because you’re trapped in a multi-year contract.

How can you help market to my community if you’re not connected to it yourself?

Relevance and connection to community is a critical part of successful community-powered journalism. We’ve developed a replicable model that involves listening to local communities through regular community interviews, social media engagement, surveying and analytics and testing. This process allows us to develop a marketing and revenue strategy that is customized to each community. We collaborate closely with the journalists closest to the communities they serve to ensure our campaigns are locally relevant and compelling.

How does Indiegraf make money?

Indiegraf has raised seed funding from partners the Google News Initiative and Facebook Journalism Project to be able to offer our services to our first 10 publishers at a steeply discounted rate while we work out the details of the model and our own revenue model.

In the long term, we will be funded through a revenue share of funding we help raise for our publishers. We know that independent journalists don’t have a lot of money to invest in getting their projects off the ground and so we’ll have skin in the game too. We make money when we succeed helping our publishers make money. Our incentives are aligned.

I’m a journalist and I’ve avoided numbers all my life. How can you teach me how to be an entrepreneur?

We have developed a successful program called the Indie News Challenge, which is about helping journalists get from the idea for a publication to actually be in market growing. It doesn’t require being a math wiz. We help you understand everything, from how to write a business plan, to how to understand analytics.

How do you choose your publishers?

We’re looking to connect with entrepreneurial journalists and small publishers that have identified an audience with a genuine need for journalism. We’re excited to support projects that we think have a good chance of succeeding, but that aren’t there yet. We find it meaningful to help publishers realize untapped potential, so we love getting involved early in the process. We’re also dedicated to contributing to a more equitable news industry, so we want to connect with diverse journalists who are connected to underserved communities.

Are you against print newspapers or advertising?

Hell no! We love newspapers. In fact, our co-founder Erin Millar used to work for newspapers. And we recognize that advertising is a valuable business model for many publications. Our technology supports advertising revenue for those publishers that want that option. We’re dedicated to ensuring the public gets the journalism they deserve, and we don’t care what business model ensures that happens. Read more about this in our launch feature.

Indiegraf Media

Indiegraf Media Inc
308 - 877 E Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC

© 2020 Indiegraf Media Inc.