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.
Indiegraf is a network of journalist-entrepreneurs and independently-owned digital Indiegraf is a network of journalist-entrepreneurs and independently-owned digital publishers. We support them by providing 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.
Indiegraf gives a suite of tools and resources to journalist-entrepreneurs, depending on their unique needs. Publishers start with either the Indie News Challenge, a bootcamp to develop early-stage ideas for community news products, or our Indie Growth Program, which helps outlets that are ready for growth to accelerate their audience and revenue goals.
When your media outlet grows, we grow with you. As publishers develop, they can advance through our Starter, Standard, Pro or Specialized tiers of service. These tiers provide you with a tech stack optimized for small publishers, audience growth services appropropriate for the stage of your publication and financing options via Indie Capital – because you shouldn’t have to be a millionaire to start a news website.
To learn more, get in touch with our Publisher Success Manager Joe Lanane.
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. We ask that our publishers meet minimum frequency requirements and practice journalistic ethics. But really, it’s up to publishers to independently define what editorial value they’re creating for their community.
Indiegraf’s goal is to be an independent company that succeeds when our publishers succeed. We are working to prove out a business model that is funded by the fees we receive from the publishers we serve. Our publishers pay us a monthly fee based on a share of their revenue. This business model allows us to focus on serving publishers above any other stakeholder by aligning our incentives with theirs.
We are aiming to grow our publisher-based revenues to a level where we will be sustainable by the end of 2023. While we prove out our business model, we also rely on funding from impact investors. We have raised capital from institutional investors like New Media Ventures and Marigold Capital, as well as individuals who are committed to investing in a healthier future for community news.
We have also received funding sponsorships from organizations including Inspirit Foundation, the Facebook Journalism Project and the Google News Initiative.
Indiegraf grew out of the work of The Discourse, an award-winning local news publisher based in British Columbia. 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. Discourse Media, the company that operates The Discourse, owns part of Indiegraf, but they are completely separate entities.
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 We’re not a third-party crowdfunding site, like Patreon or Indiegogo. If you sign up for our services, you’ll be able to process payments right on your own website or use one of our landing page templates. 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.
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 development team 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.
Indiegraf launched with sponsorship support from four organizations: the Google News Initiative, Facebook Journalism Project, Inspirit Foundation and Discourse Media. Google and Facebook provided arms-length seed funding that underwrote part of the cost of providing Indiegraf services to its first 10 publishers. Since then, the Facebook Journalism Project has provided additional financial support for our programs.
These organizations 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 publishers that want that option. We’re dedicated to ensuring the public gets the journalism they deserve, and we know publishers need various sources of revenue to be sustainable.
We believe prioritizing audience revenue is the best way to keep serving community members at the centre of a publication’s work, so we recommend our publishers start by focusing on driving audience revenue before adding advertising and other revenue sources. Read more about this in our launch feature.