Substack grant wants to change local reporting in the Valley


By Jason Keil | Phoenix Magazine

Over the past year, several high-profile national journalists were poached from their newsrooms by Substack, an electronic newsletter platform. It promises writers editorial freedom and a large payday, but only if they can convert readers into paid subscribers. Glenn Greenwald, formerly of The Intercept, takes in anywhere from $80,000 to $160,000 a month from subscribers, per the Financial Times.

But the San Francisco-based startup wants to start making an impact on the local level. Back in April, the company announced a million-dollar initiative to assist news writers in creating local publications based on their subscription model. They named 12 winners in June, including two from the Valley: Rachel Leingang of The Arizona Republic and Hank Stephenson of the Arizona Capitol Times.

“[The grant] was enough to replace our salaries [for a year], more or less,” Leingang says.

In August, the duo launched Arizona Agenda, which aims to make state politics understandable to everyone. They’ve already made a splash with a free guide to public requests and a profile of Staci Burk, an election fraud activist who is now on the run from those she helped.
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Can Erika Neuberg Remain Nonpartisan?
By Jimmy Magahern | Phoenix Magazine
Until the state’s new voting district maps are approved, the most powerful person in Arizona politics may be a spotlight-shy Chandler psychologist with ties to neither party. Can Erika Neuberg remain nonpartisan?

Erika Neuberg doesn’t hesitate when asked to name her favorite music artists.

“Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, The Who,” the Chandler psychologist quickly rattles off, with the enthusiasm of a boomer dad setting up his first Spotify profile. Not that all her musical tastes skew incongruously male. “I also love Whitney Houston and the music on the new Cinderella soundtrack.”

Coming from anybody else, that’d be simple small talk – offhand replies to an off-the-subject question asked to round out a personality profile. But as the newly elected, nonpartisan chair of the citizen-led Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, the five-member panel responsible for redrawing the state’s congressional and legislative boundaries following each once-a-decade census, even Neuberg’s streaming choices are fodder for partisan zealots eager to place the self-proclaimed independent on either side of the political divide. Springsteen? Neil Young? Gotta be a leftist.
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