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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A slew of new companies are launching platforms for local newsletters, a shift that could help finally bring the local news industry into the digital era.

Driving the news: Substack, the email publishing platform for independent journalists, on Thursday announced a new local news platform.

  • Substack Local will launch with a $1 million initiative to help 30 independent writers build local news publications using Substack's subscription model. The writers will pocket 15% of their subscription revenue in the first year when they accept an advance payment, and 90% in the second year without any payment.
  • Facebook plans to dedicate a large part of its new newsletter publishing platform to supporting independent local journalists covering communities solo, sources tell Axios.
  • 6am city, a local newsletter company that launched in the Southeast region of the U.S., expects to be in at least 15 markets by the end of the year. Sources say the company has more than 750,000 newsletter subscribers in total with annual revenues of roughly $5 million.
  • Patch, the hyperlocal digital news company, last year launched a program called Patch Labs that lets local reporters publish their own newsletters and monetize them.
  • Axios bought the Charlotte Agenda last year as a part of a new local newsletter push. The company publishes local newsletters in five markets, including Tampa Bay, Des Moines, Charlotte, Denver and the Twin Cities. It plans to launch in NW Arkansas in the near future.

What to watch: The paid newsletter trend is a reflection of a bigger industry shift toward direct-to-consumer consumer products, often ones that are paid.

  • Most news publishers have doubled down on subscription revenues as a means of becoming less reliant on ads.
  • Reuters on Thursday announced a $34.99 monthly paywall that offers readers a deeper level of coverage and data on industry-specific news, like legal or autos.

Go deeper

Apr 14, 2021 - Economy & Business

Scoop: Media startup banks on charging for buzzy business news

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Three digital media veterans are launching a new paid subscription media company with a multi-million dollar Series A funding round led by 40 North Media, a related investment business of Standard Industries, and private equity giant TPG Growth, Axios has learned.

Driving the news: The co-founders of the new company are Joe Purzycki, co-founder of the podcast company Luminary, Jon Kelly, a former New York Times editor and founder of Vanity Fair’s "The Hive," and longtime digital media executive and early Athletic employee Max Tcheyan.

Colonial Pipeline reportedly paid hackers nearly $5 million in ransom

Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Colonial Pipeline paid hackers linked to the DarkSide cybercrime group nearly $5 million in cryptocurrency after last week's ransomware attack, Bloomberg first reported and the New York Times confirmed.

Why it matters: The breach of the largest refined fuels pipeline in the U.S. triggered new concerns about the vulnerability of the country's increasingly digitized energy systems.

Biden warns gas stations not to price gouge: "That's not who we are"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday warned gas companies to not price gouge amid major shortages following the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack.

The big picture: Biden added that the FBI does not believe the Russian government is behind the attack, but they do know that those responsible "are living in Russia."