Glenn Greenwald last week became the latest journalist to set up shop on Substack
, the newsletter publishing platform that gives writers a way to monetize their output with subscription
revenue. It's not clear how long he'll stick with the platform, given that his first column
resignation from The Intercept
discussed the possibility of seeking financing for another news outlet.
Greenwald should scout Silicon Valley for investors, a column by New York Times media columnist
Ben Smith suggested this week. Apparently, there are plenty of "tech bros
who think they can fix everything" with investments in media outlets that wouldn't demonize the world's tech overlords.
Of course, Greenwald isn't a stranger to Silicon Valley
He cofounded The Intercept with the backing of Pierre Omidyar, the founder of online marketplace eBay, who in 2013 pledged to invest $250 million to support journalism. At
that time, the publishing industry was still struggling to recover from the Great Recession, while fending off growing digital rivals.
Smith's column also cited a source
inside Twitter who said people at the company had discussed the possibility of acquiring Substack, perhaps as part of a plan to create a paid subscription service called Twitter Premium. The plan
sounds nightmarish, considering that Twitter temporarily censored the New York Post, the fourth-biggest newspaper in the U.S., for publishing a story that was unflattering to the
After Smith published his column, Substack cofounder Hamish McKenzie said in a tweet that a sale to Twitter was “not going to happen.” Let's
hope McKenzie sticks to those principles for as long as Substack offers a viable way for journalists to either supplement or replace their income from other writing projects.
Amid the financial travails of news publishers and the relentless downsizing of newsrooms, every journalist should brainstorm on ideas for a Substack newsletter and develop
a business plan to sustain it.