The Oracle of Omaha recently warned that newspapers were toast. It’s not the kind of thing to take lightly.
The Guardian, for one, is not taking it lightly. Here’s what it says in their pages:
Print advertising revenue has collapsed, down by about 80% since the start of the pandemic. The situation at local newspapers, which rely on small local businesses for ads, and were struggling even before the crisis, is worse.
Now pivot. All pubs must have subscriber support, or else the end is nigh.
Adpulp’s subscribers make our Emerging Voices Project possible. From a publisher’s POV, there is nothing more valuable.
I work in advertising and media and I KNOW that advertising will not support https://t.co/VI3y78Xpzr. Not yesterday, today, or tomorrow.
— David Burn (@davidburn) May 19, 2020
Adpulp has no paywalls to annoy you with. We also have no one to answer to, just you. If you don’t care about this content, Adpulp.com is toast. If you enjoy what we do here, but not enough to pay for it, Adpulp.com is toast.
Writers Now Going Direct to Reader (DtR)
Hamish McKenzie, a writer, and co-founder of email platform Substack weighed in yesterday on the depth of the journalism business problem:
Writers I have respected for years are getting desperate. These people aren’t just in despair over losing their jobs; they’re scared that the very profession might disappear. Will being a journalist ever be financially viable again? Most of them have never sought riches; they just hope to earn enough money to cover the bills so they can do the work they believe is important. To many, that’s starting to look impossible.
One of the most painful aspects of this situation is that journalism itself isn’t broken. People want and need trusted storytelling more than ever, and there are many capable journalists ready to do the work. But the business model that supports journalism is broken, with devastating repercussions…
The Substack platform supports paid newsletters, but McKenzie wisely notes how hard it is to build a paid subscriber base.
In related news, I have a free email newsletter on Substack. Please subscribe to “The Same Indifference.”
Patrons Make A Pub Work
Patreon is a subscriber platform for indie artists, writers, and publishers. Patreon isn’t tied to a publishing platform, but you can publish updates on the Patreon platform to help keep subscribers in the loop.
The key to Patreon’s appeal is the value exchange. On Patreon, we support makers who make things we want to see in the world. It’s not a crowdfunding site, although it could be confused with one because in both cases there is a direct ask for funds.
Patreon is Adpulp.com’s partner in subscriber management. We just started using Patreon to help support our new Emerging Voices Project. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it, knowing full well that I would and will need to make consistent requests for money.
Here is what I have learned, thus far. While it does blow to ask and ask again and get nothing in return. Yet, those empty feelings are instantly offset whenever another person steps forward.
Connecting with peers in the industry who are excited to help find and fund emerging writers tends to elevate the importance of the project and the site. For that, and for the value exchange, I am grateful.