When you work for a publication, you turn over your work to the publication, which tries to monetize it.

If the company is profitable, they are able to turn your work into more dollars than they are paying you

You are earning less than you are worth
Now some may believe that they would be unable to produce the same quality work without support of the organization. (Editing, legal review, etc.)

For those folks, working at a publication may be a good deal.

But not everyone feels that way.
But think about what happens when you work for the NYT or anywhere else and you publish an amazing story

The pub sells more subscriptions or ads

But you don't get a raise

The publication keeps the surplus

And, if you quit or get laid off, you don't take that value with you
When I publish a story that has impact, I get more subscriptions. And that gives me more resources to pursue the next story. It's a virtuous circle.

It's not for everyone. But many people could be successful at this model.
I don't want to sugarcoat it. It's hard work. I write around 1200 words, four days a week, every week.

Some pieces require hours of research, some days of reporting, some weeks.

And it can be lonely.

But I wouldn't trade it for anything.
The real tragedy is that publications are laying off thousands of journalists and it was the work of these journalists that built the audience

But these journalists don't have anything they can take with them

And very few places are hiring
. @benyt writes "It’s hard to imagine even the most successful writers...posing a major threat to the titans of media anytime soon"

For now that's true. But the NYT has been around for 168 years. Most of these publications are just a few months old. Give it a little time.
The creative freedom is an immense advantage. I've been able to break quite a few stories since I've been on my own. And so has @emorwee and others.

And we are just getting starting.
Let just add that everything I love about the @SubstackInc model is why I hate the @Medium model.

Medium owns the relationship with readers and the subscription revenue

Then they pay you each month based on an opaque and changing formula

Each month, you start again at zero
The number of subscribers you need to make this model work is not astronomical.

Think about the NYT. It has 3.9 MILLION digital subscriptions.

Sounds like a lot, right?

But the NYT also has 1700 journalists.

That's only 2300 subscribers per journalist
The New York Times also has ad revenue etc.

But the point stands because you can make a very nice living off of 2300 subscribers.

And once you get there you can build to 4600 and 6600.

Is it easy. No, it's quite hard.
But the point is, you don't need 1 million paid subscribers.

You just need a few thousand.

It's something that is obtainable for quite a few people -- especially experienced journalists who know what they are doing and how to break news and just got laid off
You can follow @JuddLegum.
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