The Dispatch is a new type of publication, bearing more in common with The Athletic than a traditional newspaper. It is a digital product focused only on subscriptions for revenue, with no advertising. More than just a website, The Dispatch will be a network of newsletters and podcasts, with email serving as the primary form of distribution. The Dispatch will be in beta until early 2020, when the full product will be unveiled.
This represents the first step forward for Substack in supporting group-based efforts on the platform. We’ve long believed that people don’t really subscribe to “content” – they subscribe to voices they trust. This collaboration represents what that “subscribe to a person” model might look like when pushed a step further, and it gives us an opportunity to further explore how groups of writers can work together on Substack.
We’re also pleased to support The Dispatch’s mission of trying to create a space for discourse that doesn’t have to play by the rules of the attention economy. In their mission statement, Hayes and Goldberg write:
We think the clickbait model is an anathema to serious discourse. We also believe it is a blight to the eye and a disturbance of the mental peace. So we are rejecting the advertising that makes clickbait seem so necessary. It might seem oxymoronic in the current climate, but we want as many readers as possible, but we do not care a whit about traffic.
We believe this reader-first approach to publishing is a smart one for the news industry, and we hope others will see it as a model to follow.
For more, read The Dispatch’s mission statement.