Substack Freelancer Gets A White House Press Pass

Hunter Walker, a Substack freelancer, gets a White House press pass, without being attached to a major publication.

freelancer gets a white house press pass
Hunter Walker plans to bring a different type of news from the White House briefing room. (Image by Aaron Kittredge)

It’s not every day that a freelancer gets a White House press pass, but Hunter Walker did it.

Walker is the writer behind a political newsletter called The Uprising, which is published via Substack.

Before going independent, Walker was a member of the White House press corps while working for Yahoo News.

During that time, Walker was a member of the White House Correspondents Association, which requires that reporters predominately cover the White House.  But according to Washingtonian, when Walker launched his own newsletter with a broader political focus, WHCA asked him to return his press pass.

Now, having gotten another “hard pass” that’s not under the grip of the organization, Walker reportedly plans to use his independent status paired with access to the White House briefing room to focus on stories mainstream reporters aren’t covering.

Moving To Substack

Substack is an online publishing platform that makes it easy for content creators to set up their own turf on the web. One of the most attractive elements for a lot of users is the ability to set up and manage newsletter subscriptions.

Many content creators are building audiences and using the subscription fees to monetize their work.

Although Walker may be the only Substack freelancer who gets a White House press pass, at least for now, he certainly isn’t the only former staffer who has migrated to Substack to do his own thing.

There are many. And they’ve come from jobs at publications, including Rolling Stone, New York Magazine, BuzzFeed and The Verge.

For more and more journalists, it’s an attractive alternative to dealing with the BS of employment.

Casey Newton quit his job at The Verge in the fall of 2020.

“All of a sudden this thing comes along where it’s like, imagine never having to ask your boss for a raise again. All you have to do is do good work and attract customers,” he told NPR.

“All I have to do is find a few thousand people who will pay me $10 a month or $100 a year and I’ll have one of the best jobs in journalism,” he added.

But the platform is not just limited to over-it journalists. Anyone can set up shop, which is why some people aren’t taking Substack content as seriously as they should.

But Walker believes that’s changing, and he has vowed to do his part to change it.

“I remember a lot of takes getting written saying that actual reporting, and shoe leather, and going to council meetings wouldn’t be possible with Substack. I’d really love to prove that wrong and turn it on its head if possible,” he told Washingtonian.

Also See: Philadelphia Inquirer Journalists “Sick and Tired”

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