The Channels Blog

Writing a social impact editorial newsletter: how and why? With Cass Hebron from The Green Fix

This August, Channels is focusing on all things newsletter. From our social media content to our own newsletter, look out for tips, tricks, stories, information, and memes all about newsletters! Check out our recent content on our Instagram to learn more about newsletters in all their shapes and sizes.

Individual, editorial, journalistic-style newsletters are blowing up (if you don't believe us, just read here and here and here). Channels is very lucky to have Cass Hebron among our members, writer and editor of The Green Fix newsletter. We had a chat with Cass about her own journey starting an editorial style newsletter and what lessons she can pass down from her experience.

Channels: Hey Cass! How long have you been writing The Green Fix?

Cass: I launched the newsletter in September 2020, so less than a year!

Why did you decide to start your own personal, editorial-style newsletter?

At the time, I was working full-time at an EU advocacy NGO and while I loved the work, I missed writing about climate action for a non-specialist audience. There are so many people outside the 'Eurobubble' who want to do more for the planet but who don't have access to information about what's happening at a political level on environmental issues, or how they can get involved. I also generally have a strong independent streak so I liked having my own project! And voila, the Green Fix was born to try and bridge that gap between political advocacy and individual action.

The Green Fix was born to try and bridge that gap between political advocacy and individual action.

How did you choose Substack as your platform?

I didn't spend a lot of time researching platforms because honestly I started it quite impulsively (most of my projects seem to start like that...). I like Substack for its simplicity, the fact it's free for everyone, and how intuitive it is—although I may in the future also explore Ghost, an alternative platform.

Is monetising your newsletter something you plan to do?

I'd like to find a way to monetise the Green Fix but not at the cost of putting the climate resources behind a paywall. It's crucial to me that the key information—what's happening and what you can do about it—is free and accessible to everyone. But I am exploring expanding the platform and creating a paid version of the newsletter with more content (watch this space...).

How much time do you spend working on it, in general?

TOO LONG (Ok don't put that in lol, here's my actual answer): It's pretty time-consuming! I spend hours combing through news, updates from NGOs and other sustainability resources, and sourcing Q&As. Plus the fact-checking, editing and narrowing down the resources that make it into the final newsletter. Recently I realised how, ironically, unsustainable it is to be spending so much time on this for free, so I've just rounded up a team of fantastic motivated volunteers who are going to help share the load and expand the platform with additional content.

Have you noticed any changes to your own writing or communications skill-set since starting a newsletter?

Yes. I think it's inevitable that the more you write—and the more you read other people's work—the better your own writing becomes. Particularly, when I started the newsletter I had a tiny audience of basically my immediate friends and family and so was pretty casual about it; I think I was afraid of scaring people off with climate messaging that was too strong. But as my audience grew, I also developed more confidence in conveying the need for climate action in a way that is blunt, uncompromising, but not aggressive (or I hope so, anyway!).

If you want to make a difference, then just start! Start anywhere. You don't need to know exactly what you're doing.

What has been your biggest lesson learned for the newsletter?

The reason it takes hours and hours to go through resources and news is because there is so much happening for environmental justice, everywhere. There are hundreds and thousands of people with creative initiatives for change in their community. There are so many green start-ups, social enterprises, micro-NGOs, activist groups, sustainability academics and others doing fantastic things that it's impossible to keep track. And many of them started without much of a plan. It made me realise that it doesn't matter if my newsletter isn't perfectly planned or if I can't do everything. If you want to make a difference, then just start! Start anywhere. You don't need to know exactly what you're doing.

If you're interested in hearing more from Cass about her experience with The Green Fix, join us on Tuesday, 28 September 2021 in our monthly Channels meet-up. RSVP here.