Some writers use their Substacks to promote other projects they’ve been working on. We don’t own the attitudes of every Substack writer, and we don’t own the attitudes of our investors.”, It was a nonideological, noneditorial stance—one that he’d taken in conversation with me before. They continued to approach potential contributors. The first was Bill Bishop, someone McKenzie knew from his time in Hong Kong. “We’re not hiring writers, and we’re not publishing editorial,” McKenzie said. “Democratizing this subscription-based future will enable more writers to earn more money by writing about what truly matters. Essay writing for english tests Essay On Topic Internet Punjab. Leaked documents that reveal offshore financial dealings of many political and business leaders, and suggest possible corruption. She felt like the media industry offered her few alternatives (“Where can we go, as Black journalists?” she wondered aloud), so she quit her job to figure out what might come next. By April, shelter-in-place orders were in effect. Category 5 Hurricane that hit in Fall 2016. “There’s not a lot of places where you can do that and get paid a decent amount and have benefits. She went to Nitehawk, a dine-in movie theater, and brought Clorox to wipe down the little table by her seat, her drinking glass, the utensils. J.P. Brammer, who moved his popular advice column ¡Hola Papi! “Substack can solve the structural issues between publishers/writers and readers in a way that aligns the incentives between all of them,” Andrew Chen, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, wrote at the time. “He was like, ‘First of all, you’re a bad writer and you shouldn’t do this,’ ” Best recalled. In those early days, she felt like she was the only one obsessing over the coronavirus. To a large extent, the answer depends on whether or not Substack’s founders believe they’re in the publishing business. Peck settled on a name for her project: Coronavirus News for Black Folks. It was also the case that the pandemic had boosted their company’s growth—in the first three months, as hundreds of journalists lost their jobs, the number of active writers on Substack doubled and revenue increased by 60 percent. He agreed to move his subscriber base—thirty thousand readers—to Substack. But often, adherence to neutrality only enforces existing power structures. When we spoke, they were adamant that Substack is a platform, not a media company—a familiar refrain of Silicon Valley media ventures. At the time, the media apocalypse was in full force—the limits of digital media were apparent (that year, Mic and Vice instituted mass layoffs after bowing to Facebook in an ill-fated “pivot to video”) and legacy media was bleeding (Condé Nast faced perennial ad revenue loss; a desperate Tribune Publishing changed its name to Tronc). “In an ideal world, I’m the editor in chief or editor at large of the newsletter; I’m using it to allow other journalists who like to cover these communities to have a place to write,” she mused. In McKenzie’s telling, he gently informed Best that he thought he was stating the obvious: everyone in media already understood what the problems were; what was missing was a solution. Peck was not among those recruited to join Substack. Register here. A few consider it a place to get weird (see: Ellie Shechet’s Horrible Lists, with entries like “How to give up on your dream of moving home to become an herb farmer in 11 easy steps”). One of the co-owners noted that it was hard to attract readers through internet search alone; they wanted to track audience data. Before working in technology, McKenzie had grown up in a small town on the South Island of New Zealand and attended journalism school with the hope of becoming a foreign correspondent. “This guy was writing this newsletter from his bedroom in Taiwan and, as far as we know, making like a million dollars a year,” Best said. It was only when she started to get publicity that McKenzie tweeted about her project. The platform is new, but the metrics are not; financial concerns trump all others. The Skimm and Axios had built companies around monetizing newsletters, but it wasn’t an idea widely embraced by individual journalists. A Taste Media piece, anointing newsletters as the future of food coverage, argued that Substack is “allowing voices to be heard—through simple and free publishing tools—but it also allows creators to flip the switch for monetization.” Last year, BuzzFeed’s Alex Kantrowitz wrote that “paid email newsletters can bring in real money for writers with small, dedicated subscriber bases”; this year, Kantrowitz announced that he was leaving BuzzFeed to start a Substack. She wants to keep the newsletter free, though to keep herself going, she’s considering adding an option for subscribers to pay. “GoFundMe can help us see things we’re not seeing and put money where it would not go,” Schneider said. Peck had been mulling the idea of starting a newsletter for a while. “I take some of my pitches and just write them for my newsletter,” Harvin said. As more people signed up to join the Substackerati, the company garnered praise from journalists. (In the case of Substack, It was a nonideological, noneditorial stance—one that he’d taken in conversation with me before. When I asked what, exactly, they thought made someone a promising Substack writer, Best turned to McKenzie and asked, in a jokey hush, “Do we keep the Baschez score a secret?” McKenzie laughed. Yet people like Peck are still workers, even if they lack a boss. “I think Substack should make it easier to discover newsletters on their platform,” she told me. If “be your own boss” is a nice slogan in the abstract, it ignores the fact that power dynamics always exist, even where they’re not formalized. Sullivan’s Substack quickly rose to become the fifth-most-read among paid subscriptions—he claimed that his income had risen from less than $200,000 at New York magazine to $500,000. When I asked about their views on content moderation, the founders said that, because readers opt in to newsletters—unlike Facebook, there’s no algorithm-based feed—they have relatively less responsibility to get involved. A few consider it a place to get weird (see: Ellie Shechet’s, It’s a bit of a brain twister: Substack, eager to attract customers over Mailchimp or WordPress, has begun to look like it’s reverse engineering a media company. In early August, a coalition of housing researchers found that as many as forty million Americans could be at risk of eviction in the coming months, as a result of a number of policy responses––and lacks thereof––to the covid-19 pandemic. Bishop already ran a popular free newsletter, Sinocism, analyzing China-related news, and was thinking about going behind a paywall.