Substack vs Publishers? Here's How One Outlet Is Making It Work

It's a unique partnership that could be a model for other publishers

Ethan Cox is the founder of Ricochet, a public interest, membership funded news outlet.

Last year Ethan partnered with journalist Christopher Curtis to launch The Rover, a crowdfunded Substack publication.

Launching a Substack isn’t something new. But how Ricochet and The Rover work together is unique. They aren’t independent entities, but work together, taking the best of the publisher and Substack models.

In a discussion that every publisher should listen to, Ethan walks through how his outlet has integrated the independent writer Substack model, why it could be a model for other outlets, and why you don't need a paywall to create sustainable journalism.



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This is part one of my interview with Ethan. Part two is for members only and is a discussion about how to run a crowdfunding campaign for your outlet. Stay tuned!

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Show Outline

4:27 - What is the Rover and how it was created

7:41 - The model, why traditional publishers are not evil and how others could replicate this model

11:15 - How to make a payment model work without a paywall

13:37 - Why they used Substack instead of building a custom solution

17:52 - How Christopher Curtis engages with members and why this model fits with him as a reporter

23:01 - How did they decide to price a Rover membership

24:55 - The benefits of gift subscriptions