Today, I’m announcing some big changes to Hot Pod: how it looks, how it feels, and how it will publish.
Here are the changes, in the bullet form:
- HotPodNews.com, the front page of Hot Pod, has been completely redesigned. As you can probably tell by now.
- The redesigned website will now contain all Hot Pod articles. This includes both free Tuesday Hot Pod issues — which will still be syndicated on Nieman Lab — as well as Hot Pod Insider issues. Insider newsletters are demarcated with the golden key icon, and are exclusively to paid subscribers, obviously.
- Hot Pod Extra has been renamed Hot Pod Insider, which, really, is a cosmetic change, but it belies a larger shift…
- Tuesday Hot Pod newsletters will be skimmed down and made tighter. Previously, the newsletter features around 6-7 stories plus Bites, often totaling up to an ungodly 4000 words per issue. Now, it will switch to something that feels more like a column: 2-4 stories, plus Bites, coming up to around 2000 words per issue. (Of course, these are just rough estimates. It’ll be shorter or longer depending on the week’s stories.)
- Hot Pod Insiders will now be published on Thursday and Friday mornings ET. They’ll provide stuff that’s exclusive to paid subscribers, follow-ups to on-going stories, and additional material. Each issue will feature 2-3 stories, coming to around 1500-1800 words per newsletter. You can read a little more about what Hot Pod Insider is designed to do here.
- Annual subscriptions will now be cheaper. Starting next Tuesday, the price of an annual subscription will be $70/year, down from $84/year. If you’re an annual subscriber, you’ll see that change reflected automatically that day. If you’re a monthly subscriber and are thinking about switching, just head over to the account panel on the website, click “Profile,” click “Subscriptions,” and click “Change Plans.” The plan will shift in the next billing cycle. And speaking of the website…
- Starting Tuesday, stories will be atomized. Which is to say, every news item will be published as its own post on the website, to facilitate better linking and sharing in the future. Over the next few months, I’ll be breaking older issues up and atomizing them as well.
- There is now a dedicated Facebook Page and Twitter account for Hot Pod. I’ll be treating those places as a streamlined news wire for Hot Pod and my work more generally, because I use my personal Twitter to tweet out garbage all the time.
So, why the relaunch and redesign? A few things on this:
- The first reason’s super obvious. Hot Pod’s web presence has been laughably bad since, like, forever. So, this is just me finally stepping into the 21st century.
- The second has to do with the past. I’ve been thinking a lot about the blood, sweat, and life I’ve spent over the past nearly four years on this little operation, and among the big things I’m hoping to achieve with this is to better store, structure, and string together all the work I’ve done since launching the first newsletter — every on-going thought, every explore idea, every narrative followed, every mistake made. In that vein, I’m currently developing a plan to reorganize the archives, so that folks who are interested in certain thread can search and follow through them easily.
- The third has to do with the future. So, there is a version of the future where Hot Pod can take on other writers and begin tackling beats more specifically so that Hot Pod may formally grow into something that isn’t just me. I think this is possible, and it’s a future I’d love to make happen, but it depends on a lot of factors: first and foremost, whether enough willing paid subscribers to drive this business. I believe there are quite strongly, actually — but I need to set the guts of this thing first as well as test a few hypotheses before I can try that.
So, that’s the long and short of it all. Also: I’ve updated the “About” page, in case you need a check-in on why I’m here.
I’d just like to quickly thank the great Bob Kim of Tiger+Rat, who is responsible for the entire website design, creation, and execution. He’s excellent to work with, and I highly recommend reaching out if you have design needs. Couldn’t have done this without him.
As always, let me know if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m excited to keep this guy chugging away.