A new era of content ownership | Philanthropy in less wealthy communities | The “no angel” narrative

A new era of content ownership: Substack, an online newsletter platform, is paying its writers directly, says Ben Smith in the New York Times. It’s part of a new era of content ownership — Platforms like Substack, Patreon and Cameo are allowing content creators and performers to own their own content and make money directly from their audience. Substack is doing so by paying advances to some of their most popular newsletter writers, taking the majority of the money that they make from subscription fees in return. Substack has competitors like the platform Ghost, which charges a flat fee per month rather than paying advances. Whatever the platform, however, “the new media economy promises both to make some writers rich and to turn others into the content-creation equivalent of Uber drivers,” writes Smith. 

Philanthropy in less wealthy communities: As philanthropy grows as a funding mechanism for local journalism, people have wondered if the same model will work for less wealthy communities. To the surprise of some, it works just fine, write Lauren McKown and Jimmy Martinez in Poynter. A new study from Report for America looks into the results of fundraising campaigns across local news organizations in communities of varying degrees of wealth. As it turns out, papers in areas with limited financial resources are still able to successfully fundraise at a level on par with that of wealthier communities. The study shows that grassroots donations grew in the past year at a much higher rate than larger gifts. This demonstrates that when papers provide a value to the community and are trusted, the residents who rely on them for information are motivated to give back, say the authors. 


The “no angel” narrative: As the trial of Derek Chauvin continues, right wing media is taking a “no angel” angle that they often take in cases of racial justice like these, says Margaret Sullivan in the Washington Post. Fox News hosts are calling it the “George Floyd trial” and focusing their conversation around Floyd’s drug use and history, going so far as to misreport the results of the autopsies which clearly stated that the cause of death was Chauvin’s knee-to-neck restraint. Tucker Carlson, Ann Coulter and company continue to victim blame, defend Chauvin and mock the racial-justice movement, using their reporting as “racist smears” — and it’s time for that type of narrative to die, Sullivan says.

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