Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Discourse Moves From a Paid Email Newsletter to a ‘Web Site’

Here’s a story that pairs nicely with that New York Times trend piece from a few weeks back about the rise of paid email newsletters. Discourse — which was started after the private equity geniuses that own Gizmodo Media Group decided, one year before the coming U.S. presidential election, to shut down Splinter, the organization’s news and politics vertical — has moved off Substack and onto something called a “web site”.

Jack Mirkinson and Aleksander Chan:

We weren’t contemplating this kind of move. Substack was a good home for us. We were growing steadily. We simply didn’t think that creating our own custom website was on the cards anytime soon. It felt so… big.

But when the folks at Lede, including Alley and Pico, said they wanted to develop a new site with us, it was easy to say yes. Here was a chance to truly bet on ourselves — to throw caution to the wind and run towards our dream of a long-term, independent, worker-owned outlet. Even more importantly, it was a chance to bring you the kind of website that you deserve — one that is more editorially ambitious, visually interesting, technologically sophisticated, and community-focused than anything we could have done in our previous incarnations.

This happens to be the same technology stack used by Defector, the recently-launched home for castaways of Deadspin, Gizmodo Media Group’s sports vertical that the same private equity geniuses decided to meddle with despite its popularity and profitability. Like the previous newsletter-based format, the new website is primarily a paid subscription offering, but some posts will be made available for free, as will a weekly email newsletter.