Apply for February and May cohorts of the Indie News Challenge

We’re looking for journalist-entrepreneurs from across North America.

Indiegraf Staff  - February 3, 2021

Have you ever wanted to start your own news outlet? Applications are now open for the February and May cohorts of the Indie News Challenge, Indiegraf’s flagship accelerator to help independent digital media launch and grow. 

With more than just newspapers across North America shuttering during COVID-19, entrepreneurship and innovation are urgently needed to fill gaps. But media ownership can’t only be for people who can code or have buckets of money — it’s for anyone who believes in the mission of journalism.

We can help you do it. Here’s how. 

What is the Indie News Challenge?

Over nine weeks, a group of journalist-entrepreneurs work together to build community news products from as early as the idea stage to attracting their first subscribers and readers. Through weekly Zoom seminars, exercises, one-on-one feedback and a community of like-minded peers, you’ll develop your idea into a prototype with early traction and a clear plan you can share with potential funders, partners and members.

Here’s how Ayesha Barmania and Will Pearson, co-publishers of Peterborough Currents, described the experience: “We launched our newsletter, attracted a large audience of email subscribers, gained motivation and energy for our product, secured some funding, learned how to think strategically about our product and revenue streams and received lots of encouragement. Wow!”

Who is the Indie News Challenge for?

We are currently accepting project ideas from startup and established publishers in Canada and the United States. If you’re ready to start sharing your idea with the world, the Indie News Challenge is for you. We especially encourage BIPOC journalists and storytellers to apply. We are committed to supporting the growth of Black, Indigenous and POC-owned media.

What does the Indie News Challenge cost?

The full cost per participant is $5,000. Thanks to our funding partners, we can offer the Indie News Challenge at a subsidized fee of $500. Equity is important to us, so we never want cost to prevent people from becoming journalist-entrepreneurs. Grants are available to those for whom cost is a barrier to participation.

What is the time commitment required?

The time commitment required is approximately eight hours per week for nine weeks.

What does the program look like?

What can you expect to accomplish during the Indie News Challenge?

Here are a few examples of how journalist-entrepreneurs advanced their projects through the Indie News Challenge.

What else do Indie News Challenge publishers get?

Participating in the Indie News Challenge also gets you ongoing access to the Indiegraf community, where you can learn and connect with other Indiegraf publishers via our Slack workspace and virtual events.

Projects that successfully complete the Indie News Challenge qualify for discounts on Indie Tech, Indiegraf’s powerful, beautiful and cost-effective CMS, and Indie Engine, analytics and digital marketing services designed for small publishers. Projects may also qualify for funding from Indie Capital following completion of the program.

More questions? 

Fantastic — that’s what we’re here for. Drop CEO and co-founder Erin Millar a line here

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