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The newsletter is revolutionizing the media industry

Becoming your own boss, being in control of your content, talking to a listening audience and, for some, leaving the newsroom to work independently is the road that many American journalists are taking by launching their own newsletter. Similar to paid subscriptions, this new model offers content via regular emails, capable of generating increasing revenues. Is this innovative approach the solution to the crisis facing print media?

Casey Newton, an American journalist, has just left the major news outlet The Verge, where he had been covering Silicon Valley news and technology issues for seven years and with whom he created his first newsletter, The Interface. Casey Newton’s departure was prompted by the launch of his own newsletter, Platformer, to which he hoped subscribers from The Interface would follow: I wanted to control my destiny. When you’re working for someone else, you’re always at risk of your company being sold, going through an economic downturn, and so on. When you work for yourself, you can plan for your future.Focused on GAFA news, his independent newsletter offers investigative journalism and reports with information that he deems important enough to be offered as paid content.

Launched in October 2020, Platformer has 30,000 free subscribers and more than 1,000 paid subscribers after one month of operation, already representing an annual revenue of US$100,000. Although its paid readership is still lower than that of The Interface, Casey Newton is confident about the future: “If I can work toward my goal over time, not only will I be in a position where I’m doing well for myself, but I’ll be in a position where I can create media jobs. I can hire someone to go out and do more reporting. I can hire an editor. I can hire a graphics person. I can start to — in this tiny, tiny way — rebuild a little of what has been lost and figure some things out for the future. That just seemed like a really cool bet to make.”