Journalists Are Leaving the Internet for Your Inbox 網路媒體記者 投奔付費電子報平台
Casey Newton recently announced that he was leaving The Verge, the website where he has covered the tech industry since 2013, to write a subscription newsletter hosted by Substack, a 3-year-old platform that is growing in popularity.
Newton is joining the ranks of journalists who have left the relative comfort of an established publication to try their luck at Substack.
Newton, 40, said in an interview that he would start his newsletter, Platformer, next month. The time was right to go solo, he added, because of the changing relationship between readers and media outlets.
"You might follow a publication," Newton said, "but it's more likely you care about an individual reporter or writer or YouTuber or podcaster. People are increasingly willing to pay to support those people."
Most Substack writers offer a mix of paid and free email newsletters. They make money through subscriptions, not ads. Writers own their newsletters, and the platform takes a 10% cut. Substack also offers a legal defense service to writers of paid newsletters in the United States.
Hamish McKenzie, one of the platform's founders, said Substack writers could make $100,000 a year if they bring in "a couple thousand people" who spend $5 a month on a subscription. "It's not easy — it takes time, dedication and care — but it's more doable than ever," he wrote in his own Substack newsletter.
The platform appeals to some journalists partly because the news media business has been in steady decline. From 2004 to 2019, roughly half of all U.S. newspaper jobs were eliminated, according to a University of North Carolina study, and more than 30,000 journalists in the country have been laid off or furloughed or had their pay reduced during the coronavirus pandemic.
The most popular paid Substack offering is The Dispatch, a conservative newsletter started last year by Steve Hayes, former editor-in-chief of The Weekly Standard, along with Jonah Goldberg, a former editor at National Review, and Toby Stock, a former executive at the American Enterprise Institute. With more than a dozen employees, The Dispatch has nearly 100,000 subscribers, almost 18,000 paid, and is close to pulling in $2 million in first-year revenue, most of it derived from Substack subscriptions, Hayes said.
Who Gets Hurt When the World Stops Using Cash 疫情期間零接觸停用現金 衝擊弱勢
Cash doesn't have the status it used to.
In fact, some state and local governments are forcing businesses like restaurants and retail shops to continue accepting cash — concerned that cashless businesses effectively discriminate against consumers who do not have bank accounts or credit cards.
Concerns about a decline in the acceptance of cash surfaced well before the coronavirus arrived, as consumers grew more comfortable shopping online with credit or debit cards and paying quickly with mobile apps. Many businesses like electronic payments because they speed up purchases and reduce concern about theft.
Then, during the pandemic, restaurants and stores emphasized online ordering and digital payment to reduce interactions — and the risk of infection — among customers and employees. And as consumers stayed home, coin shortages occurred, making it difficult for some stores to give change. That added to a preference for electronic payments.
But as digital payments become more widespread, "we're concerned that people aren't going to be able to pay for necessities," said Linda Sherry, director of national priorities at Consumer Action, an advocacy group.
Businesses that refuse cash put at a disadvantage people who lack traditional bank accounts or can't qualify for credit cards, consumer advocates say. About one-fourth of American adults were unbanked or underbanked in 2019 — meaning they did not have a bank account or had one but also used alternatives like check-cashing services, the Federal Reserve found. Those consumers are more likely to be in a racial or ethnic minority group, have lower incomes and be less educated.
Some may like cash because it helps them budget their money or teach their children about spending. Others may be wary of a loss of privacy and vulnerability to hacking with electronic payments, or simply prefer cash, Grant said. "The decision should be the consumer's."