- Famed New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz says he has turned down a $250,000 deal from Substack.
- Explaining his reasoning, Saltz said, “I think it is not my real work to write for ‘subscribers.'”
- Substack has made waves in the media industry by poaching big names in recent months.
Long-time New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz says he has turned down an offer to write for the newsletter platform Substack for $250,000 a year, citing its subscription-centric business model.
“I think it’s fishy to always be barking to your readers to subscribe,” he said on Instagram on Thursday. “I think it is not my real work to write [for] ‘subscribers.’ My only work is to write for the reader.”
Saltz said the sum was more than twice what he currently makes at New York Magazine and “more money than I have ever [had] or dreamt of having.” The Pulitzer Prize winner has been New York Magazine’s senior art critic since 2006.
“As much as I would love to be able to live like a human being and not three paychecks away oblivion- there is no way I could take the Substack offer because, as lucky as I am to be offered it, the only reason I would do it is … [for] the money,” he continued, adding that he is “poor.”
“I want to reach strangers; be loved and hated by strangers; talk about art to anyone any where any how,” he wrote. “I like being in my huge department store @Nymag where people find me who have no idea who I am or what I do or even thought about art before.”
Saltz added that he feels “100 fairly treated” by the magazine, saying, “Who else would pay a full time art critic. lol!! We are useless. And we bring in NO $$$.”
Substack has caused a stir in the media industry by poaching big names with hefty advances, some of which are worth six figures. In recent months, the platform sought deals with several New York Times journalists, including internet culture reporter Taylor Lorenz and media columnist Ben Smith. Substack has already struck deals with a number of high-profile reporters, including Casey Newton and Anne Helen Petersen. The rise of the platform signals a growing emphasis on journalists’ individual brands and personalities and a shift towards viewing them as digital creators and quasi-influencers.