The Rise of Independent Journalism and the Power of Being a Regular Customer


Hatched by Glasp

Jul 09, 2023

3 min read


The Rise of Independent Journalism and the Power of Being a Regular Customer


In recent years, the journalism landscape has witnessed a shift, with more journalists opting to go independent and start their own newsletters. This trend has been fueled by the pandemic, pushing journalists, particularly white men, to explore topics like technology, business, and politics where they can blend punditry, analysis, and original reporting. However, this independent model may not be suitable for journalists covering areas that require daily beat coverage, investigative reporting, or technical and legal support. Despite the challenges, many journalists have found empowerment in starting their own newsletters, offering unique perspectives and pursuing stories they couldn't write within traditional newsrooms. One platform, Substack, has played a significant role in supporting independent writers, providing them with institutional support and allowing them to retain ownership of their subscriber lists and billing accounts. As the newsletter phenomenon gains popularity, the industry must grapple with the potential issues of newsletter overload and fatigue.

Building an Audience: The Trickiest Part

One of the biggest challenges for independent journalists starting their own newsletters is building an audience. Judd Legum, a successful independent writer, acknowledges that the initial hurdle is often gaining the first thousand subscribers. Many individuals who have found success in this field have started with an existing audience. However, it is still possible to start from scratch and grow a loyal readership. The key lies in creating compelling content, engaging with readers, and leveraging social media platforms to increase visibility.

The Benefits of Being a Regular Customer

While journalists are exploring new avenues for their work, a recent study reveals the benefits of being a regular customer at favorite spots. This study highlights that consumers value their relationships with employees above all else. It takes an average of eight visits before customers consider themselves regulars, and this status comes with several advantages. The top benefits reported by respondents include:

  • 1. Trust in the People and their Capabilities: 61% of customers trust the employees at their favorite businesses and have confidence in their abilities. This trust is built over time through repeated interactions and positive experiences.
  • 2. Personalized Service: 57% of customers appreciate that the employees at their favorite businesses know their preferences. This personalized service makes them feel valued and understood, creating a sense of loyalty.
  • 3. Consistency: Another 57% of customers value knowing what to expect from the services offered at their favorite businesses. This predictability provides a sense of comfort and reliability, further strengthening the customer-business relationship.

Actionable Advice for Independent Journalists and Regular Customers:

1. For Independent Journalists:

  • a. Focus on creating engaging and compelling content that sets you apart from the traditional news cycle.
  • b. Actively engage with your readers, respond to their comments and feedback, and build a community around your newsletter.
  • c. Utilize social media platforms effectively to expand your reach and attract new subscribers.

2. For Regular Customers:

  • a. Support your favorite businesses by becoming a regular customer and building relationships with the employees.
  • b. Provide feedback and suggestions to help businesses improve their services and show that you value your relationship with them.
  • c. Spread the word about your favorite spots through word-of-mouth recommendations and social media posts, helping them attract new customers.


The rise of independent journalism through newsletters has opened up new opportunities for writers to explore topics of interest and connect directly with their readers. While challenges exist, platforms like Substack have provided support, allowing writers to retain ownership of their subscriber lists and billing accounts. On the other hand, being a regular customer at favorite spots brings benefits such as trust, personalized service, and consistency. By understanding the dynamics of these two phenomena, independent journalists and regular customers can make the most of their respective roles.

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