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The filmmaker and left-wing provocateur Michael Moore has a new venue for his work: the digital newsletter platform Substack.
The first edition of his newsletter came out on Tuesday. Newsletters seem to be the latest rage in publishing and journalism, but the genre is nothing new for Mr. Moore, who said he put out his first one when he was in the fourth grade.
His newsletter will be offered for free. Readers will have the option to pay a subscription fee to access video chats and previews of his upcoming projects. He will also host an audio series, “Rumble With Michael Moore,” on Substack’s podcasting service.
“We have three pandemics going on — coronavirus, climate and the people that want to bring down our democracy,” Mr. Moore said in an interview, explaining why he had decided to make his newsletter free. “We are not going to succeed if we don’t get more people involved in their democracy. Obviously, the best way to do that is to make it as widely available as possible.”
Mr. Moore has published an email newsletter since the early 1990s, using it to rally support for causes like stricter gun control laws and to get the word out on his films, which include the Oscar-winning 2002 documentary “Bowling for Columbine.” He said he would be bringing his mailing list of nearly 600,000 readers to Substack.
Substack, which has more than 500,000 paying subscribers, has attracted a number of top writers, some of whom have defected from mainstream media organizations for six-figure deals or the promise of a lucrative stream of revenue from reader subscriptions. The author Roxane Gay, the tech journalist Casey Newton and the writer Andrew Sullivan are among the writers who have popular newsletters on the platform. Earlier this month, a group of prominent comic book writers and artists joined the service. Mr. Moore said he was a fan of Substack newsletters by Patti Smith, Anand Giridharadas and Garrison Keillor.
The demand for newsletters has led to an increasingly fierce competition across the media industry. Facebook recently started Bulletin, a newsletter service with writers like Malcolm Gladwell and the sports reporter Erin Andrews. Twitter purchased the newsletter platform Revue earlier this year. The New York Times last week introduced seven new newsletters and made a slate of its offerings available only to paying subscribers.