An announcement from Luke

I have an announcement to make. After considerable thought, I have decided to turn Public Sphere into a paid newsletter. Before I launch into details, I'd like to take a moment to --

THANK YOU FOR SUBSCRIBING. There is a ton of excellent competition in the newsletter space, and I am grateful to each and every one of you for making this newsletter a part of your reading diet. I have written 21 issues of this newsletter, and I plan to do many, many, more. I understand that not everyone will opt for a paid subscription, but I wanted to thank you all.

What's Changing?

Now, onto why I am making the switch.

I think it's worth paying for. I think this newsletter offers coverage that -- for the most part -- isn't found widely in the media landscape. International coverage is declining, and this newsletter has covered Hong Kong and Hungary. I have extensively translated Russian writings from Alexei Navalny. I have interviewed authors.

Writing this newsletter is work. It takes several hours to report and write a newsletter. Several of you have asked me how to donate. I'd like to keep it free, but then I wouldn’t be able to keep it going. I applied to and was accepted for Substack Grow to help make Public Sphere a viable project.

How will it be improving?

  1. More Reporting. Enabling paid subscriptions will allow me to interview more people for Q+As. I incur fees in using software that makes transcribing much faster and less onerous. A 30-minute interview is about 3000-4000 words, and a transcript that I minimally edit is much less time-consuming than hours of listening to a recording and transcribing.

  2. Comments. Comments will be for paid subscribers only. I learn a lot from readers. Readers are a great source for me to interact with one-on-one. Under paid subscriptions, I can read comments from paid subscribers. (You can still yell at me on Twitter for free, but I’ve muted mentions from people whom I don’t follow.)

  3. Extra Editions. The newsletter will be public on Mondays, as it started. However, I will add in additional shorter newsletters for paid subscribers. Think of it as a way to stay informed during the week without having to doomscroll through dozens of tweets and waste hours of time. Don't worry, the amount of additional email in your inbox will not be excessive. 

The Details about the Subscription:

How much does it cost you?

$70/year or $7/month.

The Button below will get you to the paid link, with all of the different options, including group subscriptions:

Or you can give a gift subscription:

Give a gift subscription

As you might have guessed, I don't have my own credit card processing system. After considerable research into different systems, I've decided to use Substack's own payment system. They keep 10 percent of subscription fees and an additional four percent goes to Stripe, handling all of the credit card information securely. Substack also will offer me liability coverage as part of going paid.

I'm not doing any SUBSCRIBE NOW FOR 20 PERCENT OFF deals, because I believe this newsletter offers excellent value and I want to keep it simple. In other words, if you sign up today, the price will not wildly fluctuate, like an airline ticket. There is an option to pay more, if you're especially dedicated to this work.


As I sign off, I'm incredibly grateful to each and every one of you. The replies, comments on social media, and shares mean a lot to me. You brighten my day!


P.S., if you have any technical snafus, or any questions at all, email me at