The jokes practically write themselves! Which is good, because soon there won’t be any journalists left to help.

A song to read by: “A Moment,” by Jerry Paper

What I’m reading: “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” by Zora Neale Hurston

A Pew Research Center study released earlier this month dropped a lot of freshly depressing information about the media industry, which is pretty par for the course at this point. Amongst the many enervating tidbits though, one especially despondent nugget stood out:

“About a quarter of Americans (27%) say news organizations do ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ well when it comes to explaining where their money comes from, while an overwhelming majority say they do either ‘not too’ (33%) or…


The Stripe engineer who created a bespoke newsletter platform in his free time talks about the paradox at the heart of the passion economy.

A song to read by: “Small Town Talk,” by Bobby Charles

What I’m reading: “Conflict Is Not Abuse,” by Sarah Schulman

The newsletter platforms runneth over

While researching a story about newsletters for Business Insider the other week, I discovered that there is a truly gobsmacking number of newsletter platforms on the market. Most of them are fighting for a scrap of the email-marketing ecosystem, which is such a cherry pie that even a tiny slice is worth the effort.

You have probably heard of MailChimp, but what about Benchmark, Moosend, SendinBlue, GetResponse, Mailjet, Pabbly, Constant Contact, MailUp, Zoho, AWeber, Campaigner, Drip, Postcards, Campaign Monitor…


When your fans pay your bills, that’s called being uncancel-able, baby.

A song to read by: “Doc” by Chocolate Milk

What I’m reading: “Conflict Is Not Abuse,” by Sarah Schulman

New York Times media critic Ben Smith has written a lot of sentences that have made him a lot of enemies, but perhaps the most gut-curdling noun-verb construction he’s ever stitched together came in his most recent profile of the newly self-exiled Andrew Sullivan.

“He was not, he emphasizes, ‘canceled,’” writes Smith, referring to Sullivan. “In fact, he said, his income has risen from less than $200,000 to around $500,000 as a result of the move.”

That’s right. Andrew Sullivan, the…


Why remote positions need to become a fixture in the journalism industry long after they are required by Covid.

A song to read by: “Drift Away,” by Dobie Gray

What I’m reading: “Are Prisons Obsolete?” by Angela Davis

A remote playing field

In early August, the news broke that NPR had received 20,520 applications for its 27 available internship positions; the year prior, there had been 2,597 applications for 55 jobs. The uptick in applicants sparked conversation throughout the industry.

According to Current, NPR spokesperson Isabel Lara suggested that the surge is due to the fact that the internships are remote this year, and applicants don’t need to move to expensive cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Washington, D.C.

Because…


How a Current Affairs article broke my thought-having device (brian?).

A song to read by: “My Own Worst Enemy,” by Lit

What I’m reading: “Are Prisons Obsolete?” by Angela Davis

You can’t compete with cheap labor

Current Affairs’ editor Nathan J. Robinson published “ The Truth is Paywalled but the Lies Are Free “ almost two weeks ago, and it gave a good shake to the discourse snow globe. Then, for the most part, the dust settled and everyone moved on with their lives.

Except for me.

The piece poses a basic question: If all the “quality” journalism is behind a paywall, but all the “bad” stuff is free, aren’t we going to run into trouble…


The cofounder of the Oakland-based “Hometown” is at work on what could be a paradigm shift in the way people consume news.

A song to read by: “What a Difference a Day Makes,” by Dinah Washington

What I’m reading: “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” by Malcolm X and Alex Haley

I met Ljuba Youngblom last fall, when my tiny graduate school cohort of 10 people decamped to San Francisco for a quarter to soak in the sights, smells, startups and Sweetgreens of the gorgeous Plutocracy by the Bay.

I vividly remember the day I met Youngblom, for two reasons. First, because he had gotten coffee that morning with my boss at the time, JulieAnn McKellogg, at Subtext.

When Youngblom came to speak…


Media coverage of Hillary Clinton was awash in sexist tropes. In 2020, with a biracial woman on the ticket, it’s imperative we do better.

A song to read by: “Strange Overtones,” by Whitney

What I’m reading: “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” by Malcolm X and Alex Haley

We’re not in 2016 anymore

Regardless of your political inclinations, the selection of Sen. Kamala Harris as the vice presidential nominee of the Democratic Party is historic.

If Joe Biden wins, Harris stands to become the first female vice president. Thanks to Hillary Clinton’s pioneering 2016 campaign, the media now has a pretty clear set of guidelines that dictate how to cover, and not cover, female candidates running for high office.

While Clinton likely did not relish her role as the media’s…


After quitting Deadspin en masse, Burneko and 17 of his colleagues reemerged last week as Defector Media, a sports blog with a sharp voice and perfect timing.

Good morning, readers of the Lyte, and welcome to another edition of the only newsletter that, when printed and folded into a paper airplane, is guaranteed to fly. Let’s get our brains into Having Thoughts mode.

Today’s interview is with Albert Burneko, one of the 18 Deadspin writers who quit the company last year in protest and reemerged, last week, as Defector Media.

Defector is connected, via the media family tree, to Gawker, the infamously acerbic blog that skewered elites into a state of unease so threatening that the site was eventually sued out of existence in a Hulk Hogan…


This time, the misinformation will come in picture format.

Data deja vu

If your Instagram looks anything like mine does nowadays, it might remind you of what your Facebook looked like in 2016: packed with social justice rhetoric, instructions for civic engagement, grassroots activism and indictments of the state.

Just about everyone I follow has dramatically amped up the number of socially minded stories, posts and videos they share. This phenomenon peaked right after the killing of George Floyd, which created an atmosphere of solemnity throughout the app, as if you were at a funeral. …


First The Dispatch, then Study Hall, then Discourse Blog and now Defector: Creative teams of writers are building exciting new sites on the backs of subscriptions.

Welcome to the world, Defector Media

Earlier this week, a new media company named Defector Media announced itself to the Twitterati. Next week I’ll be interviewing one of its founding members, so I’ll save the in-depth description till then.

The main thing you need to know is that when Defector sprang into existence, it did so with a subscription campaign. The dozen or so staff members tweeted a link to the site’s landing page, where users were met with their options for subscribing. On the page, Defector announced that its real site would be coming in September. …

Mark Stenberg

Experienced writer, editor and media entrepreneur, currently pursuing a graduate degree in journalism at Northwestern University.

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