October 26, 2021

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After pandemic layoffs, an area information firm seeks subscribers on Substack.

After pandemic layoffs, a local news company seeks subscribers on Substack.

Examiner Media, a writer of free weekly newspapers in New York’s Decrease Hudson Valley, has began a digital journal, Examiner+, on the digital platform Substack.

Subscriptions to Examiner+, whose first subject appeared on Tuesday, will value $5.99 a month or $49.99 a yr. In making a subscription publication for Substack, Examiner Media is testing whether or not an organization identified primarily for its ad-supported neighborhood newspapers — a sector of the media enterprise that has struggled vastly in latest many years — can discover success by asking readers to pay for information content material on-line.

Examiner+ will embrace articles not obtainable in Examiner Media’s papers, which embrace The Northern Westchester Examiner and The Putnam Examiner. “It might probably’t simply be a rehash of what we’re already serving up in print,” stated Robert Schork, the corporate’s digital editorial director.

He cited a coming function on the April closing of the Indian Level nuclear energy plant. Examiner+ additionally has a profile of the actor Chazz Palminteri, who not too long ago opened Chazz Palminteri Italian Restaurant in White Plains.

Adam Stone based Examiner Media in 2007, the identical yr Gannett, the massive newspaper chain, shuttered The Patent Dealer, a 50-year-old paper in northern Westchester County. Final yr, after pandemic-related lockdowns froze promoting and in-person occasions, Mr. Stone reduce Examiner Media’s full-time editorial workers to 2 individuals from six. He additionally solicited funds for the primary time and acquired greater than $30,000, primarily in small donations.

“It felt like there was alternative in reader income that we weren’t tapping,” he stated.

Credit score…Donna Mueller

Enter Substack. The enterprise capital-backed start-up is finest identified for persuading nationally in style writers to go away established publications and go into enterprise for themselves with subscription newsletters. This spring, it introduced Substack Native, a $1 million initiative to assist native journalism with grants. In June, Examiner Media was chosen as one in every of 12 winners, a bunch that included native information publishers in Australia, Britain, Nigeria, Romania and Taiwan.

“We wouldn’t contemplate ourselves a hit if we simply took well-known individuals and made them well-known in a brand new context,” stated Hamish McKenzie, a Substack co-founder.

One other regionally oriented information publication, The Charlotte Ledger, based two years in the past by the previous Charlotte Observer reporter Tony Mecia, has discovered success on Substack, with 10,000 subscribers, round 2,200 of whom are paying, he stated.

“You hear a variety of doom and gloom on native information,” Mr. Mecia stated, “however that’s primarily newspapers. There are individuals attempting a variety of thrilling issues, and a few of it is rather encouraging.”

Examiner Media will obtain $75,000 from Substack in 4 installments, in addition to 15 p.c of the first-year income for Examiner+, Mr. Stone stated. The cash helped Mr. Stone construct the workers again to 5 full-time editorial workers. After a yr, the corporate’s share of subscription income will go to 90 p.c, the Substack customary.

“If we will crack the code,” he stated, “we will announce the blueprint to the broader world. All neighborhood newspapers may comply with this mannequin.”

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