When it comes to news, Generation Z and Millennials tend to shun “click bait” and sensational stories, according to recent studies, and instead prefer “smarter news” that helps them navigate the day — which is why web sites and newsletters such as The Skimm and the Clover Letter are popular with these demographics.
Also gaining steam in this media segment is The Newsette, which was founded by 22-year-old Daniella Pierson while a sophomore at Boston University. The daily e-mail newsletter promises readers that it will deliver “motivating, informative and inspiring content, all wrapped up in a chic e-mail.”
The site said there’s “no negative vibes, just need-to-know fashion, tech and pop culture updates, interesting editorials and a spotlight on women at the top of their industries.” Here, Pierson discusses how the newsletter came about, its goals and target audience — which exceeds 250,000 subscribers.
WWD: Can you briefly explain the genesis behind launching The Newsette?
Daniella Pierson: I started The Newsette as a sophomore in college, with the hopes of creating a product that would be like a gift in every woman’s inbox. The world can be a scary and stressful place, so I wanted to build an oasis where readers could be uplifted, motivated and delighted before tackling the day. I had absolutely zero writing experience, and the first few newsletters were rough — to say the least. But every nasty e-mail that I received in the early days, not-so-politely informing me of a typo made me stronger, and more determined to perfect my product.
WWD: How did you come up with the name? And how did the idea of using the lipstick/coffee cup motif on the logo emerge?
D.P.: Because I am, admittedly, impatient, I decided that I would send my first newsletter the day after I came up with the idea, which gave me only a few hours to come up with a cute and compelling name. I made a list on my iPhone and wrote down everything I could think of related to a newspaper, because I was essentially creating a specialized, highly curated daily digest. I wrote the words “news” and “gazette,” then replaced the “z” with an “s” so that it would sound better. And that was how The Newsette was born.
As far as the logo, the coffee cup and lipstick were meant to represent three things every woman needs in the morning: latte, lipstick and The Newsette. However, I like to think it’s so much more than that. The logo is a representation of what makes us happy in the morning. Just a small thing like your favorite shade of lipstick or almond milk latte can brighten your day, and that’s what we aim to do as well.
WWD: How would you define and describe your reader? And why don’t you offer “negative” or political news — especially amid hashtag activism that includes the #MeToo movement?
D.P.: Our reader is a savvy, career-focused and highly motivated woman. I made the decision to omit politics and negative topics from our content coverage because I wanted to maintain our position as an approachable, positive and delightful content source. Hard-hitting news can bring you down first thing in the morning, which is the opposite effect we want our newsletter and web site to have.
Our readers have plenty of other news outlets that supply coverage on those topics, and we believe that they don’t come to us for that. This line does sometimes get blurred, and we do report on topics such as #MeToo, because, above all, we are a media company that empowers women, which I believe all of our readers can stand behind.
WWD: What inspired the “current mood” board feature? What’s the goal?
D.P.: The “current mood” board feature on our web site was inspired by our “best of Instagram” section in the newsletter, and is meant to provide the kind of delight that words just can’t convey. Whether they motivate our readers to change up their style, find a new person to follow, or even inspire them to go to the gym, I believe that photos have the power to transform your mood.
WWD: Are there any recent books, articles, movies, shows, etc. that strongly resonated with you — and why?
D.P.: The last movie I saw that strongly resonated with me was, surprisingly, “Moana.” In the film, a young girl sets out into uncharted waters to solve a problem. There are many setbacks, but she never gives up. I was 19 when I started The Newsette, and now I’m 22. Being so young in a media world where most chief executive officers are twice my age, it can be hard to be taken seriously, and even harder to keep going when obstacles emerge.
However, like “Moana,” I don’t consider my age or gender to be a disadvantage and I am eager to prove anyone who believes otherwise wrong.
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