More often, if opportunities have arisen in my case, the rub has usually been: We want you, but you have to retire your existing brand. Our brand matters more. Which is sort of like, why do I have to choose?
Not all opportunities are like this. For example, I have contributed to Vice’s Motherboard for more than five years, mostly with syndicated Tedium pieces. That has been great, because they aren’t trying to kill Tedium; they’re trying to raise it up. I know how rare that is, because I’ve been around the block a few times.
But I worry about folks who didn’t start before the trend really look off, like I did. Will they be able to stand out when their competition is made up of people who appear on CNN or have had bylines in The New York Times? Is the indie writer going to get overwhelmed by this state of affairs?
If I were the Atlantic, I would start up a farm system. Find the writer with a couple thousand followers and an underrepresented voice, give them the resources of The Atlantic, and help them shine. That will help the newsletter field more than building a team of ringers.