The Rise of Independent Journalism and the Power of Curation in the Digital Age


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Sep 27, 2023

3 min read


The Rise of Independent Journalism and the Power of Curation in the Digital Age


In recent years, the journalism landscape has undergone a significant shift, with more and more journalists embracing the independent model. This shift has been driven by various factors, including the pandemic and the changing dynamics of the industry. Additionally, the rise of digital curation has played a crucial role in shaping the way we consume information and how journalists deliver it to their readers. In this article, we will explore the rise of independent journalism, the challenges faced by journalists in this model, and the power of curation in the digital age.

The Rise of Independent Journalism:

The independent journalism model has gained popularity among journalists, particularly in areas such as technology, business, and politics. Many prominent journalists have left their news organizations to launch their own newsletters, allowing them to blend punditry, analysis, and original reporting. This model works well for white men in these fields, as they can leverage their expertise and build a loyal audience. However, it may not be as effective for journalists covering topics that require daily beat coverage or investigative reporting, or those who need technical support and legal resources.

Challenges Faced by Independent Journalists:

Building an audience is one of the biggest challenges faced by independent journalists. Judd Legum, a successful independent journalist, acknowledges that gaining the first thousand subscribers is particularly tricky and highlights the advantage of starting with an existing audience. However, he believes that starting from scratch is still possible. Platforms like Substack have been piloting programs to provide writers with more institutional support, including advance payment. This support helps independent journalists establish themselves and overcome initial hurdles.

Ownership and Empowerment:

One key advantage of the independent model is that journalists retain ownership of their subscriber lists and have control over their payment accounts. This ownership allows them to maintain a direct billing relationship with their subscribers, making it easier to transition to other platforms if desired. This level of control and empowerment gives independent journalists the freedom to pursue stories they may not have been able to write in a traditional newsroom.

The Power of Curation:

In the digital age, information overload has become a prevalent issue. Clay Shirky's research revealed that excessive tagging and information identification actually contribute to this overload, as individuals struggle to pay attention to the abundance of relevant information. Nicholas Carr identified two types of information overload: situational overload, where individuals lack effective search and filter tools, and ambient overload, where individuals are overwhelmed by an excess of information that aligns with their preferences.

Digital curation acts as an intermediary layer between search engines and information consumers. It helps individuals navigate the overwhelming amount of information by curating and organizing the content. Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, highlighted the importance of organizing the entire collection of documents. Digital curation fulfills this need by providing a curated selection of information that goes beyond what search engines offer.


The rise of independent journalism and the power of curation in the digital age have revolutionized the way we consume news and information. Independent journalists have found new avenues to pursue their passions and build loyal audiences, while digital curation has become an essential tool in managing information overload. As the newsletter phenomenon continues to grow, addressing potential newsletter overload and fatigue will be crucial.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. For independent journalists, focus on building an audience by leveraging existing networks and starting with a niche topic of expertise.
  • 2. Embrace digital curation tools to filter and curate information effectively, enabling you to provide valuable content to your readers.
  • 3. Constantly innovate and adapt to changing trends and technologies to stay ahead in the evolving world of independent journalism.

By combining the rise of independent journalism with the power of curation, journalists and readers alike can navigate the digital landscape more effectively. The future of journalism lies in the hands of those who can adapt and leverage the opportunities offered by these transformative trends.

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