Substack is, by all accounts, a rising star. The journalists who have launched newsletters on the platform are (usually) unbound by allegiance to any parent media company. They are their own brand, using the Substack platform as both distribution and revenue generating tool. It’s boom time for those journalists with a large enough following to launch on Substack – but as Will Oremus writes for Slate, it is potentially cutting newspapers to the quick. And that, in turn, could harm the public.
His argument is that the sort of creator who thrives on there is typically not doing original reporting. Instead it is opinion, commentary, of the sort that once attracted readers to newspapers en masse and helped support the news gathering side of the business. If those star attractions go elsewhere, so the revenue it would have brought in. And he predicts even as newspapers try to adapt, the wind is blowing due Substack at the moment:
“Substack’s biggest investors, the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, feel the same way: They’re banking on a future for journalists that doesn’t leave much space for editors, copy editors, fact-checkers, or even much of a business side. Mostly just writers, a technology platform, and a whole lot of revenue to split.”
Apple and Spotify have annexed a few new territories in the platform war. As the amount of money flowing into podcasts increases, the bigger players continue to invest in exclusive content and the underlying tech. It might be a few years til we see it all shake out, but the seeds of the future of podcasting are being sown here.
Really interesting one from Mark Little here, arguing the language we use to discuss the disinformation problem needs to be amended. Instead of framing it as a never-ending conflict he argues we discuss it in terms that don’t play into the narrative of ‘truth vs lies’ that those who spread disinformation want.
The largest publicly-traded news companies have come out of the pandemic relatively well, according to this research from Press Gazette. There’s some data in there worth looking into – though it’s a bit apples to oranges in terms of direct comparisons.This content originally appeared in The Media Roundup, a daily newsletter from Media Voices. Subscribe here: