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 difficulty appeared on Tuesday, will value $5.99 a month or $49.99 a yr. In creating a subscription publication for Substack, Examiner Media is testing whether or not a company identified primarily for its ad-supported group newspapers — a sector of the media enterprise that has struggled tremendously in latest many years — can discover success by asking readers to pay for news content material on-line.
Examiner+ will embrace articles not out there in Examiner Media’s papers, which embrace The Northern Westchester Examiner and The Putnam Examiner. “It will probably’t simply be a rehash of what we’re already serving up in print,” stated Robert Schork, the company’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 lately 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.
Enter Substack. The enterprise capital-backed start-up is greatest identified for persuading nationally common writers to depart established publications and go into enterprise for themselves with subscription newsletters. This spring, it introduced Substack Local, a $1 million initiative to help local journalism with grants. In June, Examiner Media was chosen as one among 12 winners, a group that included local news publishers in Australia, Britain, Nigeria, Romania and Taiwan.
“We wouldn’t think about ourselves a success if we simply took well-known individuals and made them well-known in a new context,” stated Hamish McKenzie, a Substack co-founder.
One other regionally oriented news 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 lot of doom and gloom on local news,” Mr. Mecia stated, “however that’s primarily newspapers. There are individuals attempting a lot 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 company’s share of subscription income will go to 90 p.c, the Substack normal.
“If we are able to crack the code,” he stated, “we are able to announce the blueprint to the broader world. All group newspapers may comply with this mannequin.”