By Jake Carson
Since its creation three years ago, Luke Pearson’s IndigenousX media platform has become a leading and important voice for Indigenous representation within the Australian media.
Centred on Pearson’s well-known and widely followed Twitter account, @IndigenousX, the program has hosted over 180 Indigenous speakers, arranged for funding to be raised for a variety of programs and campaigns, as well as giving an outlet to a demographic and community that is often tragically underrepresented in the media.
Pearson credits his early arrival on Twitter as a driving force behind the creation of IndigenousX.
“[Twitter] has been around for around for nine years now, and I’ve been on there for about seven,” he says.
“I remember in the beginning I had something around 4,000 followers, whereas everybody else had a couple of hundred.”
In three short years, Pearson’s project has grown exponentially, attracting guests ranging from politicians (Senator Nova Peris), performers (Miranda Tapsell), and Indigenous community members from around the country.
Now Pearson has his eyes set on the future, and he needs your help to get there.
Pearson has turned to the public to secure funding as IndigenousX plans a major expansion: transforming itself from a presence on social media to a fully-fledged, self-sufficient and independent media platform.
“We already do this work, we put out content on par with media that exists already,” says Pearson.
This decision was made for a number of reasons; partly to keep IndigenousX editorially independent, and a strong belief in keeping the content free.
“I could never put a paywall on IndigenousX,” Pearson says, citing the need for young Indigenous people to be able to access the site for free.
“From an ethical standpoint, these are the places we can’t go down.”
The decision to fund the expansion of IndigenousX from non-traditional sources was a no-brainer for Pearson, who says the current system of funding for mainstream media is unsustainable, especially in light of the recent shutdowns of Indigenous-focused media and the downsizing of newsrooms across the country.
However, he also warns that new startups may fail if they seek reader funds immediately, noting how IndigenousX (volunteer-run and free) first had to create trust amongst its readers before it asked for help.
“While we’ll definitely see more of this type of funding, you need to take the time to build that relationship first.”
The campaign has currently set two goals: A Tipping Point ($65,000) which would allow for the creation of the new platform, the necessary gear, as well as a year’s worth of content from Indigenous authors, and an Ultimate Goal ($250,000).
On the crowd-funding website startsomegood, Pearson has outlined his vision for the future, and if this goal is reached, what it would mean for IndigenousX.
“This will give IndigenousX two full years, and a whole range of opportunities, to become a sustainable entity into the future, one that will hopefully last longer than any of us,” he wrote.
“We need more strong Indigenous media voices, and we need to make sure those voices reach far and wide, and with your support that’s what we aim to achieve.”
To find out more about IndigenousX, click here.