“Newsletters Have Become the Hot Thing in Journalism”

From The Poynter Report with Tom Jones headlined “The latest news outlet to dive into the newsletter pool”:

Newsletters have become the hot thing in journalism over the past several years and are an inventive way for journalists to connect with readers in — if it’s done right — smart, informative, entertaining and personal ways.

Or as Nicholas Thompson, CEO of The Atlantic, said, “The evolution of newsletters is one of the most important things happening in journalism today.”

That explains why The Atlantic is the latest outlet to make a big leap into newsletters. It announced Tuesday that it is launching nine subscriber newsletters.

In an editor’s note, The Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg wrote, “Newsletters are conversational, unrehearsed, contingent, revelatory, humble, and entertaining, and journalism can always use more of these qualities. The Atlantic, which is already home to writers with clashing worldviews and original ways of seeing what is (as a great writer who didn’t have a newsletter once said) too often right in front of our noses, is always keen to showcase for our readers new writers, and new kinds of writing. Growing our family of newsletters dramatically seemed like one good way to better serve our readers.”

The newsletters will be written by Jordan Calhoun, Nicole Chung, David French, Xochitl Gonzalez, Molly Jong-Fast, Tom Nichols, Imani Perry, Yair Rosenberg and Charlie Warzel. (Goldberg’s note describes what each will write about.)

Goldberg told Axios’ Sara Fischer, “I wasn’t looking for topics so much as I was looking for excellent writers. The important thing for me is that they are honest and interesting.”

Warzel is an interesting case. He left The New York Times earlier this year to start a newsletter on Substack. In a final post for Substack, Warzel explained his decision to move over to The Atlantic, writing, “I’m worth more to a publication as part of a package of writers/reporters/thinkers than I am on my own. This makes sense to me. I don’t break tons of news these days and my work lately has been either explanatory or analytical. That may be a harder thing for somebody to pay for individually, but as a larger stable of people, I might fit more nicely into a bundle. Makes sense to me.”

The newsletters will be free until the end of November. After that, you’ll need a subscription to The Atlantic.

The Atlantic moves into a crowded space with other newsletters, but Goldberg doesn’t seem concerned about that, telling Fischer, “​​We have a powerful brand name, and we have an extraordinary collection of journalists already. What’s attractive is the affiliation itself. We are a home for great writers.”

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