There’s a lot to unpack in this. The rush of people launching their own newsletters has definitely slowed. But publishers and creators alike are still seeing huge value in the format.
“There’s a more realistic attitude about the format and the business you can build around it,” Peter Kafka writes for Vox. “Newsletters, it turns out, are just like blogs and podcasts — they’re super simple for anyone to create. But turning them into something beyond a hobby — let alone turning them into a full-time job — requires talent and sustained effort.”
An interesting snippet from this: Meta’s own newsletter initiative Bulletin has 1 million people signed up to its newsletters from famous people. I thought this was super low given they have almost 3 billion users on Facebook, but then I’ve seen 0 promotion of it. Anyway, like anything that isn’t copying TikTok, the initiative is now on the back burner.
As newspapers shutter, Axios, City Cast and other organisations are attempting to fill a void. There’s some unfair negativity in here from some commentators, but some valid points raised, too. However, one thing it’s important to remember is that many of these start-ups are still in the early days, and will have some way to go before finding their feet and making a difference. It’s a hopeful start, in my opinion.
Instagram’s changes to favour TikTok-style video content will benefit publishers looking to create more short-form video. But as always with this kind of thing, the platforms can dial down support as quickly as they ramp it up. Experiment by all means, and take any money they offer. But don’t expect it to last.
As newsstands slowly stop selling newspapers, it has become more difficult, and sometimes impossible, to find a paper copy of the New York Times. This is a fascinating look at the realities facing news kiosks in the US, especially with the changes the pandemic have forced. I’d love to see an equivalent piece in the UK (the only place I’ve seen a print paper recently is Tesco).
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