LettsNews Review, Analysis and Opportunity

LettsNews: Pioneering a New Era in News Democratization

We get an exclusive look at LettsNews and its potentially defining impact on the news industry.

Two years ago, The Letts Journal, signed up to be part of a new project started by our mothership . It set out with the lofty ambition of making news pay for those writing the news. I know, shocking stuff. Journalism isn’t exactly known for great pay and while movies like All the President’s Men might make one think its glamorous the reality is there are only two Woodwards and Bernsteins. But now its obvious that the whole news industry had a major problem. It wasn’t just the individual journalist who couldn’t afford a decent whisky the paper itself could hardly afford the paper it was printed on.

Thanks to the likes of Google, Meta, TikTok and X the financial model for news publishing - advertising money -  was well and truly broken. I mean news still makes money but the money goes to those tech behemoths not the publishers and certainly not the actual journalists. And its not as though the news itself doesn’t have any value. people still want to know whats going on. They just aren’t getting it as they used to. As a result the transition from print media to digital media is failing for all but a very few.

Most of the money goes to search and social media platforms that do not gather, write or edit the news. The independent journalists and news publishers who are doing and financing the actual work earn mere scraps left by these closed platforms. As a result local news is fast disappearing and traditional publishers are forced to deliver their own version of shrinkflation - less quality news costing increasing amounts of money for fewer readers. Quality, balanced news from a rich, diverse tapestry of news organisations is disappearing before our eyes. The less good side of AI is accelerating this trend.

Newsroom with multiple tv screens
Newsroom with multiple tv screens

Something has to change and since technology caused the problem technology should be the solution. You know, like kids being asked to clean up their own mess.

There is an ever growing number of potential journalists out there - particularly when you factor in the explosion of freelance and citizen, social media journalists and influencers. At the same time, there are a growing number of places that distribute news including social media pages, private and public websites, platforms such as Reddit, Substack and Medium, and, of course, traditional media companies. And the tools to gather news have proliferated into the hands of billions of mobile phone users worldwide.

We got excited thinking about how things could change if we were to build a platform that offered powerful yet simple tools for gathering, publishing and distributing news stories to anyone that had a mobile phone. And earning money from all that work. The writers could sell their news items through the platform so people that gather news can make more money doing it. Like an Uber for news creators.

The project is called LettsNews.

Today LettsNews launched in private beta. Access is by invitation only and The Letts Journal team enjoyed early access over the last month. It's now our default newsroom system. This article was gathered, assembled, published and distributed in LettsNews meaning that today we have more advanced tools to gather, curate and to auto-publish news items to multiple outlets - whether it's on the go, in the field or back in the news room. This makes us more productive as a team and helps us spend more time researching and creating great stories. We hope!

For the first time we can, at the push of a button, distribute our news stories to multiple places.

LettsNews dashboard screenshot
LettsNews dashboard screenshot

In LettsNews each news content item, whether it's words, images, video or audio is gathered, stored and managed in a powerful newsroom system that organises, tags and sorts the content - so we don't have to. To publish a story you just drop the news items into a story and then, when you're ready, file it so it can be edited separately and distributed at the click of a button. It can be auto-published to a wordpress site, to Medium, Substack, Reddit, social media or anywhere else you care to distribute it on the web. That way, you spend your time finding, gathering and writing great stories - not sorting, filing and distributing them. As a result of using LettsNews, The Letts Journal is no longer wedded to a single app, site or system. The silos have been eroded.

Their single user version is free and the Teams version (which is quite powerful) is great value at just a few dollars per month for a team of 5. LettsNews clearly wants to remove as many barriers as possible to getting their newsroom tech into the hands of as many media outfits and people as possible. They believe that we will struggle to democratise the news and stimulate diverse perspectives unless we remove as many of the existing barriers as possible - including cost.

As more journalists, writers and content creators use the new system they will not only gather their own news items as building blocks for more detailed news stories, but they will also be able to sell them through the LettsNews content marketplace (coming later this year). AI and advanced search will help users purchase stories, images, videos or audio pieces from the growing community of LettsNews users, helping to assemble a richer, deeper story. News articles could be built from a wide mosiac of specialist news items from expert photo-journalists, videographers and interviewers waiting to enrich your reporting and perspectives. This gives any LettsNews user access to the technology, real-time content and AI editing tools to enable them to operate their very own digital news agency.

LettsNews offers a mobile app (both iPhone and Android) for gathering content on the move and a Web app for more complex story building on laptop or PC. The two sync with each other effortlessy. You can do basic photo, video and audio editing in the app and easily upload content stored in other places to drop them into a story.

Out with the old, in with the new.

In an era dominated by rapid information exchange, the landscape of news reporting and dissemination is undergoing significant transformation. LettsNews emerges as a potentially simple, yet groundbreaking platform in this changing media environment, redefining how news is gathered, published, distributed and remunerated. Its innovative approach not only enhances the accessibility and diversity of news content but also empowers journalists and the general public in unique ways.

Its commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technology to facilitate a more inclusive and participatory news environment is quite compelling. The platform harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) and crowdsourcing, enabling it to process a vast amount of information rapidly. This technology will also enable LettsNews and its users to offer real-time news updates and diverse perspectives that traditional newsrooms might overlook.

By democratizing the process of news gathering, LettsNews ensures that individuals from different geographical locations and backgrounds can contribute to the news cycle. This inclusivity breaks down the traditional barriers erected by mainstream media conglomerates and social media platforms, which often control what news gets published and whose voices are heard. These algorithms for media control can get broken down. Murdoch's final epitaph?

LettsNews Homepage Screenshot
LettsNews homepage screenshot

Empowering journalists, citizen reporters and content creators.

LettsNews stands out by empowering both professional journalists and citizen reporters. The platform provides tools that allow users to easily submit news stories, whether they are on-the-ground reports from amateurs or in-depth analyses by seasoned journalists. This approach not only diversifies the sources of news but also encourages a grassroots level of participation that is often missing in conventional media setups. LettsNews is also a powerful tool for business content creators and PR agencies. Indeed, the platform could integrate agencies, businesses and media outlets like never before. A new content process for a more digital age.

For journalists, it offers a model that could add significantly to the traditional ad-revenue and subscription-based systems. It enables content micro-payments helping journalists to gain direct support from their audience. This model not only provides financial independence but also encourages journalistic integrity and freedom.

Changing the distribution paradigm?

LettsNews approach to the distribution of news could prove to be a game changer. The platform utilizes a decentralized distribution model, which contrasts sharply with the centralized control typical in the media industry. By distributing news through a growing myriad of channels and platforms, this new British outfit ensures that news reaches a broader audience and reduces the risk of censorship or bias that can occur when a few entities control news dissemination - going more directly from creator to outlet.

LettsNews also integrates seamlessly with social media and other digital platforms, making it easier for news to be shared and discussed among a global audience. This integration helps to keep the public informed and engaged, fostering a more informed community - God forbid... Sorry Donald.

More ethical and transparent reporting on its way!

LettsNews is commited to transparency and ethics in reporting. The platform is buildilng technology systems and will use AI for fact-checking procedures and ethical guildelilnes to ensure that news content is accurate and ulnbiased. Its comittment to truth is crucial in an age where misninformation can spread quickly.

It's still early days for LettsNews and we will keep you posted on how it progresses. You can pre-register for the private beta and get involved as they add more invite-only users in the coming weeks and months.

It looks like this initiative could build momentum towards a more democratic, inclusive and transparent media landscape. By empowering individuals to contribute to and control the news narrative, LettsNews is paving the way for a future where news is by the people and for the people. Its innovative use of technology, commitment to empowering journalists, and novel distribution strategies could make it a unique player in the news industry, capable of genuinely democratizing the way news is gathered, published, and shared. It's early days but the platform is already quite impressive. We would recommend it.