Those of us in the tech-media swear by it. When we’re included in it, our editor-in-chief Sarah Lacy says there’s no metric for success she cares about more. It’s Jason Hirschhorn’s MediaREDEF newsletter/website and it collects forty of the best tech, media, business, and culture articles every day. If you work in these fields, or if you simply dig smart, never-boring articles, it’s essential reading.
This week, the master curator Hirschhorn launched a new member of the REDEF family: FashionREDEF. Today’s stories include titles like, “Is Women’s Underwear a Form of Cultural Capital?”, “Even Urban Outfitters admits that its clothes fell out of fashion,” and “Scally Lads Are Gay Brits Who Like to Smell Stinky Socks and Have Sex in Tracksuits.” I don’t really care about fashion (my style might best be described as “accidentally normcore“), but the fact that I would read any of those stories speaks to Hirschhorn’s keen understanding of what readers want.
Email newsletters are a great way to reach savvy readers who are often too busy to keep an eye on Twitter or news homepages all day to find the best stories. We’ve certainly found that to be true here at Pando with our own newsletter.
Newsletters can help drive revenue too. Take TheLi.st for example, a network of professional women run by New York writers Rachel Sklar and Glynnis MacNicol. Its principal media property is a newsletter, but the membership fee to become a member of its core, private community is $850 a year.* Fortune’s Dan Primack has long included advertisements in his daily financial tome, Term Sheet. Last week on Twitter, Hirschhorn suggested he may adopt a paid subscription model for MediaREDEF. He also told Pando in an email that an app is on the way this Summer.
With an expansion into new verticals and a possible paid model on the way, MediaREDEF will be a fascinating experiment to watch. Those of us in media will be watching closely to see whether newsletters can be more than a distribution stream for existing publications, serving instead as the basis for a whole new media brand.
*An earlier version of this post stated that TheLi.st’s newsletter cost $850 a year to subscribe. The newsletter is free; the $850 is to be part of its “core, private, membership community.”