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 problem appeared on Tuesday, will value $5.99 a month or $49.99 a 12 months. In creating a subscription publication for Substack, Examiner Media is testing whether or not a company recognized primarily for its ad-supported group newspapers — a sector of the media enterprise that has struggled drastically in current a long time — can discover success by asking readers to pay for news content material on-line.
Examiner+ will embody articles not out there in Examiner Media’s papers, which embody The Northern Westchester Examiner and The Putnam Examiner. “It could actually’t simply be a rehash of what we’re already serving up in print,” mentioned 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 12 months Gannett, the massive newspaper chain, shuttered The Patent Dealer, a 50-year-old paper in northern Westchester County. Final 12 months, after pandemic-related lockdowns froze promoting and in-person occasions, Mr. Stone lower Examiner Media’s full-time editorial employees to 2 individuals from six. He additionally solicited funds for the primary time and receivedmore than $30,000, primarily in small donations.
“It felt like there was alternative in reader income that we weren’t tapping,” he mentioned.
Enter Substack. The enterprise capital-backed start-up is finest recognized for persuading nationally widespread writers to go away 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 in every of 12 winners, a group that included local news publishers in Australia, Britain, Nigeria, Romania and Taiwan.
“We wouldn’t contemplate ourselves a success if we simply took well-known individuals and made them well-known in a new context,” mentioned Hamish McKenzie, a Substack co-founder.
One other domestically 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 mentioned.
“You hear a lot of doom and gloom on local news,” Mr. Mecia mentioned, “however that’s primarily newspapers. There are individuals making an attempt a lot of thrilling issues, and a few of it is vitally 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 mentioned. The cash helped Mr. Stone construct the employees again to 5 full-time editorial workers. After a 12 months, 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 mentioned, “we are able to announce the blueprint to the broader world. All group newspapers might comply with this mannequin.”