Three veterans of the Palm Beach Post are joining forces to venture into a new dimension of news delivery: the email newsletter.
The Stet Media Group got its name from an old copy-editing term meaning “let it stand” — back when editors wielded red-ink pens — and former Palm Beach Post News colleagues Pat Beall, Carolyn DiPaolo and Joel Engelhardt are taking a stand for journalism with some new bells and whistles.
The trio are putting their collective 75 years of Palm Beach County reporting experience to use dishing up public-interest stories unavailable anywhere else, they said. They will be concentrating on topics that might have gotten attention when newspapers’ staffs were fatter, but now fall by the wayside.
It comes out weekly, delivered to inboxes and it just started rolling Feb. 7.
It’s not that they are under any illusion Stet will be like a daily newspaper of record, they explained.
“We want to do original reporting and stories that fill the gap” left by the shrinkage in newspaper budgets, said Engelhardt, who covers Palm Beach Gardens for his website, OnGardens.org. “And sometimes that might be a story with more context … or something you never thought about.”
Stet’s story about the book ban controversy now engulfing the state’s public school systems features an analysis of books that were banned with a finding that many of them are told from the viewpoint of Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Jewish and Muslim children or families.
The grand opening of a sales center for a 106-unit development along the Intracoastal Waterway is an opportunity to highlight how Palm Beach Gardens now includes 11 acres along the Intercoastal Waterway thanks to a deal with the developer.
Some stories are bulleted takeaways, written chunky text style; others are traditional newspaper narrative. Stet is delivered on Substack, the same platform as Jason Garcia’s must-read for insiders, called Seeking Rents.
Stet gives the lighter side some attention, along with links highlighting must-reads from other publications or not-to-be-missed events or places. The 561 Insider promises a section devoted to the area’s charms and delights.
For example: Did you know that Henry Flagler designed the West Palm Beach grid so that it captures the cool air that flows between the Intracoastal Waterway and Clear Lake? There are free history talks on it.
“We want to challenge the power structure but we also want to celebrate this amazing, amazing place where we live,” said DiPaolo, who was senior editor for news at The Palm Beach Post and has more recently edited for Axios.
Stet’s progenitors freely admit they haven’t quite figured out the revenue part of the business quite yet, but they are planning on nurturing an appetite for news.
There’s no advertising yet. Paid subscriptions will be offered, but everything is free right now. The trio says the site will have maximum transparency about who’s paying, if supporters come along.
“We don’t have any big donors yet,” Engelhardt said. “If there was a big donor who gave, we would have to list that on our website, much the way the Texas Tribune does.”
Beall, who recently joined the Sun-Sentinel editorial board, said Stet’s financials are definitely a work in progress.
“We’re like what you would expect at a tech startup,” she said. “We’re going to build the product.”