Friday Five: Power Plays update edition
A meta version.
Hello. It has been a hell of a week. I sent a really long newsletter out late last night about Lia Thomas and the fight against trans inclusion in sports, and I’m feeling very mentally behind the news cycle.
So we’re switching things up a tad today. I’m going to have a non-Friday version of the Friday Five up in the next few days looking at the many big women’s sports stories of the past couple of weeks. But since I’ve got a few newsletter announcements I want to make, I figured I should use this space for that!
These announcements are of varying degrees of importance and specificity, but there are five of them, I counted twice.
Okay, friends. Let’s do this.
1. I am so freaking proud of Power Plays, and overwhelmed with gratitude for all of you who have supported this space.
I spent A LOT of time feeling very, very guilty about the things I haven’t done exactly right here at Power Plays, but as therapists have told me over the years, it’s important to take time to focus on the positive. So let’s try it!
For the past two years, I have been able to almost fully support myself with an independent newsletter about women’s sports. (Seriously, like, about 90% of my income comes from here!)
That’s a huge deal. YOU make that possible. YOU prove that the typical media gatekeepers are wrong about what audiences want.
And to make it even better? The work we’re doing here is making a real impact. Remember that time Power Plays was cited in a Supreme Court briefing on ending amateurism?
Or when Sarah Spain gave us a shout-out on Around the Horn, and the whole panel discussed racism in women’s basketball coverage?
There are so many more highlights I could pick out right now, but as we rapidly approach the two-year anniversary of launching paid subscriptions, and as I know many of you are getting renewal notices, I just wanted to give a brief reminder to me, to you, to the world, that what we’re doing here matters.
And friends? We truly are just getting started.
2. I’m finally leaving Substack.
In case you’re the type to panic and immediately stop reading, let me put a few things up top: Power Plays is not stopping. It will still be coming to your inbox. And this change is not happening immediately.
Now, for a tad more context. When ThinkProgress, the newsroom where I’d worked for four years, was unceremoniously shuttered in September 2019, I had literally no clue what was next in my life. Some friends connected me with the folks at Substack, which was still a fairly new start-up at the time, and Substack offered me a $20,000 advance launch a newsletter. After convincing myself for weeks that launching a platform of my own was far too scary of a risk and that nobody would ever pay for it, I decided to give it a shot.
Well, it worked. On October 31, 2019, Power Plays launched. Four months later I launched paid subscriptions. I paid back my advance fairly quickly, enjoyed working with Substack, and particularly appreciated how easy the platform made it to get this up and running.
But over the past year and change, things have shifted. Substack has been paying big money to high-profile writers to recruit them to the platform, and many of said writers are outright transphobic, or at least push harmful, transphobic narratives. Substack has, in my opinion, not done enough to make the platform as a whole a safe space for the trans community.
About a year ago, many Substack writers began to leave the platform because of this. A year ago, I was in the middle of one of the worst stretches of depression I have ever experienced, was barely eking by in the day-to-day, and I put off making a change. Well, I put it off for way too long. I’m truly sorry.
By May 1, I will fully transition Power Plays over to the Ghost platform. I am putting off the move for two months in part because others who have made similar moves have suggested that I freeze the publication of newsletters for a week or two while making the switch, and I don’t feel comfortable doing that until after the women’s Final Four in early April. But it’s happening, I promise.
I will keep you all updated on the progress of this move, and greatly thank you all for your patience on this front. Please reach out directly if you have any questions.
3. Power Plays is going to be hitting the road in 2022!
When I first launched paid subscriptions two years ago, I planned to use a portion of the money to travel to a lot of women’s sporting events to bring you all a lot of in-person reporting. For very obvious reasons, that never happened, and I have spent a lot of the last two years treading water in a pandemic at home instead. Well, now, I’m vaxxed and boosted and the sports world is, for better or worse, marching on!
So, as we hit another renewal cycle, I’m optimistic that I’ll be able to travel to about 1-2 women’s sporting events every month for in-person reporting and provide on-the-ground coverage you can’t get elsewhere. (Fingers crossed I get credentialed for the women’s Final Four, cause I’d love to start in Minneapolis.)
4. Help is on the way!
So, I know I mentioned a few months ago that I would be hiring some help at Power Plays, and then I talked to a bunch of awesome people, and then nothing happened. Well, that’s because I needed to A) fully focus on getting back into a writing and reporting rhythm; and B) wait until this subscription renewal cycle started, so I had money to actually pay said help.
Well, if the renewal cycle goes okay — SEND POSITIVE THOUGHTS — I will be able to make moves on that front soon! Hooray! Stay tuned.
5. The Power Plays Book Club will return next month!
I am extremely sorry that the book club has been on hiatus for so long. The thing is, when I’m going through a depressive spell, it’s nearly impossible for me to read books, and it turns out, reading books is an important part of the book club.
BUT I’m feeling much better these days, and plan to re-launch the Power Plays Book Club in March! Remember, the book club is for paid subscribers only, so be sure to sign up so you don’t miss out.
Have a great weekend, everyone. Talk soon.