We’re happy to announce the formal launch of our Study Hall subscription newsletter, listserv, and digital community for the media industry. Check it all out on our new website, designed by Jarrett Fuller in Brooklyn, with logo and art from Berlin-based designer Bruno Pinto da Cruz.
What It Is:
Study Hall launched in 2015 as a coworking space for freelance writers in Brooklyn. Our office in Gowanus is still going strong, but we realized that there’s a much wider desire for community and information-sharing in media, apart from the noise of Twitter and beyond New York City. So we built a weekly email newsletter with media news recaps and job and freelance opportunities, paywalled with subscriptions through Patreon. That has since grown into a thriving space with over 300 subscribers, from freelance reporters to staff editors and cultural critics.
We have three levels of membership. For $2 a month, members get the weekly email of media news and commentary. For $4 a month, they get an additional email of jobs and freelance opportunities and access to our Listserv. For $11 a month, they can join our Basecamp, an app platform with real-time chat, editor contact lists, pitch databases, FAQ resources, and private groups for LGBTQ, women, and journalists of color. We also have groups based on location and practice, like criticism or investigative reporting. We think of it as a shared business back-end for freelancers; it’s a decentralized corporation.
Study Hall co-founder Peter Moskowitz is the editor of the newsletter and we brought on the freelance journalist Erin Corbett as our part-time community manager.
Why We Think It’s Cool:
Whether newspaper, magazine, or website, strong media companies are always built on community. Not the abstract community of Facebook users or anonymous traffic metrics, but communities of specific interest and expertise in which everyone has a stake. We are creating a shared space in which our readers are also our editors, writers, and professional colleagues. Along with other community-based media organizations, we want to develop a more reader-focused, accessible, and open version of our industry.
Study Hall’s digital branch is still in its early days. From here, we plan to expand our newsletter into a subscription email publication that can help fill in where the likes of Gawker, The Awl, and Today in Tabs have left off, promoting young writers and offbeat writing.
We plan to explore cooperative legal and business structures that can help Study Hall function at its higher levels more like a guild or union for media freelancers. Our goal is to build an organization in which everyone has equity, one that can survive without investors and be sustainable without grants. It should also be fun. We might even make tote bags.
While Study Hall currently focuses on the media, we believe similar self-organized structures can be useful in any industry where contractors make up an increasing percentage of the workforce (that is to say, every industry).
Kyle Chayka & Peter Moskowitz