Hi, this is Hamish, one of Substack’s founders and a former journalist. Like a lot of other people interested in the news business, I’ve been watching the merger between newspaper giants Gannett and GateHouse Media with concern. This is the latest development in a sustained period of consolidations, job losses, and closures that’s contributing to a heightened sense of insecurity about the future of local news. But I don’t think we should feel defeated. The old model for local news is dying, but in every crisis there is an opportunity. I believe that a more promising model for local news is just emerging.
It's a crazy coincidence that you're writing this today, Hamish. One of the things that I keep thinking as I've been publishing on Substack (and following the news about media layoffs and publication closings) is, how can some kind of investment/lending fund be created to get more publications like mine off the ground? Obviously, most venture capitalists are looking for returns neither I nor any small publisher can deliver, and most aren't investing in media today anyway. I don't personally have that kind of capital but I'd be very interested in seeing something like that come to fruition -- there are SO many talented journalists who've been laid off in the past decade, who could make a go of it on their own if they had some seed funding (and of course, like you say, reliable health insurance and legal protection, especially in the case of writers who write about government/public figures).
Interesting you should post such a number Mr. Hamish. It is a landscape of unfair advantages, same as the indie game development industry - while you speak of $37k yearly average, at current exchange rates, that is 6,67 times what I need to survive well, per year, in Brazil, and I'm a high percentile on the income ladder here, which means I make about 43% more than 80% of the citizens, and still that is only ~~5541 $US a year, and it makes me middle class here.
That has the constraint of obliging me to produce content that appeals to a dollar-paying, world wide audience of course, another problem, further offset by the fact that Stripe Payments has been crawling for years in Brazil, and shows no signs of ever getting off the ground here, effectively rendering my ability to monetize through substack null, which doesn't nullify my love for the platform...
Well... Just thought someone might find this data useful.