Casey Newton on Leaving ‘The Verge’ for Substack and the Future of Tech Journalism
Sarah Jeong talks to Newton about the details of his deal, subscription journalism, and what makes email such a good media format
Casey Newton, The Verge’s longtime Silicon Valley editor and the creator of The Interface newsletter, is leaving the publication to start a newsletter on Substack called Platformer.
Newton, who started at The Verge in 2013, has published more than 570 issues of The Interface since it launched in October 2017. The newsletter currently boasts more than 20,000 subscribers. The Interface usually follows the themes of content moderation, disinformation, and the negative effects of social media on society. The focus is frequently on the omnipresent and ever-controversial Facebook, but the newsletter also covers companies like TikTok, Apple, Google, Amazon, and more.
During The Interface’s run, Newton also published multiple investigative pieces about the working conditions for platform content moderators, two of which were nominated for ASME awards.
I interviewed Newton over Zoom about the pros and cons of going independent, the economics of subscription models, and what Substack means for the future of journalism.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Sarah Jeong: Congrats! What does your new newsletter look like? Is it going to be called The Interface? Are you bringing over your subscription base?
Casey Newton: I am changing the name. When I began this process, it was with the assumption that I would not have access to the IP or the email list.
When I started The Interface, it was kind of a pun on Facebook — it was sort of like between Facebook and the world. And now that I’m writing about more platforms, I wanted to lead into that.
I’m calling it Platformer — it informs you about platforms. But also in video games, a platformer is one where you jump from platform to platform, and to me, that’s the defining quality of modern life. We go from Twitter to Facebook to YouTube and back.