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The News Startups: Ecosystem Builders

13 September 2022 @ 1:00 pm

The Canadian Journalism Foundation’s (CJF) popular J-Talks Live kicked off its fall season with a special two-part event focused on news startups. Startups have become a recent bright spot in a media industry struggling to survive in the digital era and post-pandemic environment. Indeed, dozens of startups are thriving by filling coverage gaps such as community news and topics often overlooked by mainstream newsrooms.

In the two-part virtual event, the CJF showcased 10 visionaries who shared their insights on their growing media sector, new business models and current challenges.

At the first event, on Tuesday, September 13 at 1 p.m. EDT, the CJF welcomed news start-up ecosystem builders – leaders of outlets that have grown in influence since their introduction. The featured speakers were Emma Gilchrist, co-founder, editor-in-chief, and executive director of The NarwhalChuck Lapointe, CEO and co-founder of Narcity Media Group; Farhan Mohamed, co-founder of Overstory Media Group; and Brandi Schier, CEO of Discourse Community Publishing. Leading this discussion is Erin Millar, CEO, and co-founder of Indiegraf Media and founder and former CEO of Discourse Media. Indiegraf Media won the inaugural CJF-MJP Digital News Innovation Award in 2021.



September 13 | 1 p.m. EDT



Emma Gilchrist is co-founder, editor-in-chief and executive director of The Narwhal, an award-winning non-profit online magazine that publishes in-depth and investigative journalism about Canada’s natural world. The Narwhal is a pioneer of non-profit journalism in Canada and is supported by nearly 5,000 monthly members. Since launching four years ago, the organization has grown from two staff to 22. In March 2021, The Narwhal became Canada’s first English-language registered journalism organization, which allows the organization to issue donation tax receipts. @reporteremma

Chuck Lapointe is the co-founder and CEO of Narcity Media, an online media company and publisher that focuses on local news and travel content. Narcity Media owns and operates NARCITY.com and MTLBLOG.com. Chuck spearheaded the sponsored content movement in Canada in 2013 and has a mission to connect everyone to their city, through experience and content. Prior to building Narcity, he worked four years as Production Director at Ressac, a digital strategy consulting firm in Montreal. @charleslapointe

Farhan Mohamed is the co-founder and CEO of Overstory Media Group, a media company focused on rebuilding community news. Since launching the company in May 2021, Overstory employs nearly 50 people full-time across Canada and has grown to more than a dozen community publications, including Capital Daily, The Coast, Fraser Valley Current, and Vancouver Tech Journal. Prior to Overstory, Farhan was the editor-in-chief and co-owner at Daily Hive, helping to grow the company from a passion project to a fully functioning newsroom across Canada. Under his direction, the publication grew from 200,000 monthly unique visitors to over 6.5 million. @farhanmohamed

Brandi Schier grew up on Treaty Six territory in the prairies before moving to British Columbia’s Interior to pursue journalism (and snowboarding). She now lives and works on the unceded and traditional territory of the Secwépemc peoples and is dedicated to living and learning new journalism models to better serve communities. As the new CEO of Discourse Community Publishing, Brandi leads a growing network of independent news outlets including The Discourse, IndigiNews, Sun Peaks Independent News and The Wren, where she works to bring a solutions-based outlook to news entrepreneurism. @brandischier


Erin Millar is the CEO of Indiegraf, a network of small and startup community news outlets pooling technology, capital, audience and revenue resources to accelerate their growth. Before creating Indiegraf, Erin founded The Discourse, where she led an award-winning journalism team and developed a successful business model for in-depth local news. She also contributed to founding Press Forward, an association of independent Canadian publishers, and C4C Canada, a charity dedicated to amplifying underrepresented voices. @erinmillar




13 September 2022
1:00 pm
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