Business news email newsletters have become popular in the past five years, with dozens sprouting up across the country produced by daily and weekly newspapers as well as websites.
Business journalist Tony Mecia may be the first, however, to launch a business news email newsletter that is not backed by a publication or website.
Earlier this year, Mecia launched The Charlotte Ledger, an email newsletter that is sent out three times a week covering business news in and around the North Carolina city. He’s been at it now for two months.
“The idea is to try to serve the demand for local business news in a way that is smart, engaging and entertaining,” said Mecia. “There’s a lot of innovation going on at the national level, particularly on newsletters (The Hustle, Axios, etc.), but I’m not aware of much being done along those lines in local journalism.”
The Ledger combines original, reported local content with a digest of the best of what else is out there. Mecia is publishing on the Substack platform, which makes it easy to send a newsletter and also provides a skeleton website.
Mecia, who holds degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University, spent eight years on the business desk of the Charlotte Observer, first as a reporter and then as a business editor. So he knows the market. Mecia also worked for The Weekly Standard and has had his own communications firm in Charlotte.
The piece he’s written that has received the most attention was one last week in which Mecia wrote about a dispute between LendingTree CEO Doug Lebda and former Congressman Robert Pittenger over Lebda’s construction of a massive 15,000-square-foot mansion that overlooks Pittenger’s swimming pool.
“Changes in the media landscape have resulted in less local coverage, but people in Charlotte still hunger for smart and entertaining local news,” said Mecia. “Charlotte is a business town. A city of its size should have more choices for business news and analysis.”
Mecia acknowledges that some national outlets have developed innovative approaches such as email newsletters and short, punchy stories to delivering business news, but those advances largely haven’t trickled down to the local level.
“A lot of people have been conditioned to believe that business publications are bland and stuffy,” said Mecia. “If the Charlotte Ledger bores people, it is failing at its job.”
“It is still early, but I am happy to report that subscription growth is steady and that the Charlotte Ledger is already more profitable than Uber and Lyft combined,” added Mecia. “As far as why I am doing this, I love business journalism.”