Q&A: Indiegraf audience team leaders share pro tips amid leadership transition

This week, big and exciting changes are coming to the Indiegraf team.
Photo by Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash

They say you never cross the same river twice. Change is a part of life, and here at the Indiegraf team we welcome it as an exciting opportunity. This week, big and exciting changes are coming to the Indiegraf team as Tim Lam embarks on a new adventure and Rachel Chen takes over as Senior Manager of Audience Strategy. We decided to take a moment and reflect on these changes with you, our readers, and the rest of the Indiegraf network.

Tim Lam: Heading off on a new adventure

This is Tim Lam’s last week at Indiegraf before he heads off on a new adventure at the National Observer as Director of Audience and Subscriptions. We had a brief chat with Tim about any lessons learned during his time at Indiegraf and takeaways he can offer to publishers. Here’s what he shared:

Q: What has been the most enjoyable part of your experience at Indiegraf?

Tim: There are so many things! Getting to see the tangible impact our partner news outlets have on their communities and knowing that our work helped build and sustain their efforts will never get old. It was a reminder every day of why I love journalism and believe so strongly in what we do. I will also dearly miss getting to work with some of the most brilliant and supportive teammates of my career. It is special to find a values-driven team that so deeply cares about the work.

Q: What did you learn as Audience Strategy Senior Manager at Indiegraf that you’ll take with you to your next job?

Tim: I’ve learned what values-driven leadership looks like from the example of Erin and Caitlin, a lesson I will take with me to my next leadership role and beyond. I was also consistently encouraged by the dozens of smart publishers I got to meet doing impactful work across the country — it makes me hopeful for the future of journalism. Lastly, it’s hard not to mention the countless reader campaigns I had the opportunity to work on. Writing a compelling campaign story is practically muscle memory by now

Q: Any tips to share with other journalist entrepreneurs?

Tim: Listen to your audience, and don’t be afraid to think of your journalism through a product mindset! There is no better way to measure and understand how well your journalism is serving your audiences needs than by asking them (via surveys and interviews). The financial motive can be aligned with the journalistic mission. When you better understand your audience, you can produce more impactful journalism that truly serves them, exactly the kind of journalism that will encourage a reader to pay/donate.


During his time as Senior Manager of Audience Strategy, Tim was a thoughtful, creative and respected leader. He grew our audience team from scratch, and his hard work had a huge impact on each and every one of our partner publishers — even the ones that he didn’t directly support. While his departure is sad, we are excited for this new chapter in his career and will keep a close eye on his work.


Rachel Chen: Indiegraf’s new Senior Manager of Audience Strategy

Rachel Chen has been a part of the Indiegraf story from the start as the longest active company employee after our co-founders. A self-described “media nerd,” Rachel was excited about Indiegraf’s mission even before we launched. Fast-forward to today, Rachel is now Indiegraf’s Senior Manager of Audience Strategy. We got together with Rachel to celebrate her new leadership role, and asked a little about her plans for the Audience team. Here’s what Rachel shared:

Q: What excites you the most about your new role as Audience Strategy Senior Manager?

Rachel: Our team carries expertise from multiple fields, not just journalism. It is humbling and inspiring to see how we each apply our skills to our work. Having a team like this working together to figure out how we can make this industry financially sustainable is empowering! I am constantly hearing new perspectives from team members, and I am excited for us to fight jaded-about-journalism syndrome together.

Q: What’s one audience strategy tip you could share with our indie publishers?

Rachel: Don’t be afraid to ask your audience to act — writer Alicia Kennedy once wrote a review of Kate Zambreno’s book, “To Write as if Already Dead,” and it reminded me that people need to read, and we must have writers to have readers. Readers need writers. You’d be surprised by how many readers are willing to sign up for your newsletter or support you financially — if it means that as long as you have something to say, you’ll keep writing.


When Rachel first heard about Indiegraf, she told friends this was her dream job. For the past two years, that passion has become evident. We are thrilled to have Rachel take an expanded role on our team, and can’t wait to see her blossom in this new leadership position. More than anything, we are excited for the impact we’re sure she will have on all of our partner publishers.

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