Perhaps one day newsletters will replace newspapers. Thanks to tools like Substack, Revue and Ghost, journalists can more easily reach and grow a dedicated audience all on their own. Meanwhile, a handful of journalists are writing about this trend, and the media industry more generally in, well, newsletters.
You’ve probably heard of CNN’s Reliable Sources and Axios Media Trends and, of course, The Poynter Report. But there are a ton of great independently run media newsletters out there you might not have. The most popular ones deliver industry news in an informative, upbeat and sometimes goofy manner — energy we could all use this year.
Delia Cai, growth and trends editor at BuzzFeed, publishes Deez Links, a “dailyish” newsletter filled with media gossip.
“I write Deez Links as if I was trying to explain things to friends in a group text,” she said.
Deez Links is Cai’s personal side project. Her 6,000 subscribers can expect sassy copy, casual Q&As with successful journalists and lots of links to must-read articles.
Tim Herrera, the Smarter Living editor at The New York Times, also has a good time writing and managing his newsletter, Freelancing with Tim. Every week, he emails pitching tips and hosts Zoom panels with editors and writers in hopes of demystifying the freelance process.
If you make it into one of his weekly panels (they fill up within a few hours), expect to hear lots of media banter, see a few pets on screen and feel thoroughly welcomed into Herrera’s community of more than 3,000 subscribers.
This week, Hererra upgraded his Zoom account to accommodate 500 participants per panel because the waitlists were getting so long. Last week, he raised more than $1,800 for the Journalist Furlough Fund via a wine-fueled Ask Me Anything hour with Soraya McDonald, culture critic at The Undefeated; Lyz Len, Gazette columnist; Kim Kelly, freelance journalist and author; Sopan Deb, culture and sports reporter at The New York Times; and Wesley Lowery, correspondent for “60 Minutes.”
Unlike the beat journalists who rely on their newsletters for revenue (think Ben Thompson of Stratechery), many people who publish media newsletters are, unsurprisingly, writing from within the industry and have a full-time job.
“I feel like I do have some level of stability in my job and so I really did feel this professional and almost moral obligation to use that position to do whatever I could to help people who aren’t fortunate to be in a position like that,” said Herrera, who started his newsletter at the beginning of the pandemic.
Most independently run media newsletters are free, too. Cai feels strongly that Deez Links remains accessible but has begun selling classified ads and merchandise to make a little money on the side. Every so often she also includes a signal boost, which highlights journalists who have recently lost work or been laid off.
Below is a list of media newsletters to follow. Warning: lots of puppy pictures ahead.
Independently run media newsletters:
- Deez Links – Delia Cai’s dailyish media industry gossip
- Freelancing with Tim – Weekly freelancing tips and panels with editors
- Opportunities of the Week – Calls for pitches and writing opportunities compiled by Sonia Weiser every week
- One More Question – Weekly freelancing advice, opportunities and encouragement from Britany Robinson
- The Objective – Collaborative weekly newsletter about how journalism has interacted with historically-ignored communities
- 10 Journalism Jobs and a Picture of My Dog – Media industry jobs curated by Mandy Hofmockel every Monday morning
- Study Hall – Weekly newsletter with media jobs and an online support network for individuals in the industry
- Not a Newsletter from Dan Oshinsky – Monthly Google Doc-based guide to sending better emails
- Hot Pod – Nick Quah’s weekly analysis, insight and commentary on the podcast industry
- Tools for Reporters – Biweekly tech recommendations to help make your reporting easier, faster and smarter from Samantha Sunne
- Medialyte – Mark Stenberg’s twice-a-week newsletter with the latest media industry trends. Bonus: he includes a song to listen to in every email.
Did we miss something? Email us your favorite indy media newsletters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eliana Miller is a recent graduate of Bowdoin College. You can reach her on Twitter @ElianaMM23, or via email at email@example.com.