Over the past few years, dozens of star journalists at mainstream media outlets announced that they were quitting their jobs to launch their own ventures, usually on platforms like Substack. As a result, some have drastically increased their income, sometimes into the seven figures. 

As more and more writers defected, I and others wondered how legacy media outlets would respond. Would they adapt their business models so that their writers could capture more of the value that they generate?

Last week, The Atlantic announced that it’s partnering with about a dozen writers to author standalone newsletters for the magazine. Though the partnership details are somewhat vague, they could provide a framework for how media outlets will compete with platforms like Substack moving forward.

To discuss these moves, I sat down with communications consultant Jonathan Rick. We dove into The Atlantic’s newsletter strategy and discussed whether it’s effective enough to lure independent journalists back into the warm embrace of legacy media.

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