Logo courtesy of Profiles in Legalization

Table of Contents

Starting out

What made you become a content creator?

P. Aiden Hunt, Publisher and Editor of Profiles in Legalization: I’ve been a writer since childhood. I got an idea in April 2021 for a project to improve my creative nonfiction skills and write my first book. Profiles in Legalization began as a series of essays about significant figures in the cannabis legalization movement. I’d worked as a freelance journalist, so I turned it into a policy news site to reconnect with my target audience.

What are some of the challenges you face as a content creator?

Aiden: The challenge of my daily news feed is finding content worth sharing. Many cannabis publications target “stoner” culture. I don’t mind it, but my site aims for a more professional audience. For my own writing, the constant challenge is not having time or energy to write everything I want to write about.

What are some digital publications that you follow?

Aiden: For current events, I read the digital versions of The Atlantic and The Washington Post. For cannabis news, I subscribe to Law360.com for their daily cannabis vertical and the Marijuana Moment newsletter. The Canna Law Blog, a creation of Harris Bracken Law Firm, is also a good source. I reprint stories from States Newsroom sources. They fund independent small papers in state capitals and publish under Creative Commons license. Finding them inspired me to publish the same way.

Why did you decide to syndicate your content with Newstex?

Aiden: When I got back into journalism, I started searching in research databases. I saw that the websites creating content that I was interested in were “served by Newstex,” so it seemed like a good fit. I publish for the connections on social media that I've made over the years, but Newstex offered a chance to be distributed to a wider, still specialized, audience. I value that most.

Pros and Cons

What do you like most about creating digital content?

Aiden: I'm a disabled writer and I didn't leave the house much even before Covid. Writing is how I've always preferred to communicate with the world and I like to feel productive. Writing articles for the web lets me reach a worldwide audience. Distributing on social media also provides feedback and comments, which leads to better connection with readers.

What do you dislike most about creating digital content?

Aiden: The internet often encourages clickbait or things like listicles, which aren’t really what I write. I decided when I started my project that I would stick to my own personal standards for quality. Social media algorithms don’t necessarily favor that.

What are some unique aspects of the legal blogosphere?

Aiden: I’m not sure it’s unique to legal, but experts writing guest posts has definitely led to elevated conversation and understanding. Some cannabis community lawyers have used great, informative articles for public benefit. There’s plenty of “advertorial” content out there, but I’ve read some great content, too. I like the trade-off of name recognition for value-added.

What are your favorite digital publications and why?

Aiden: I read the digital versions of The Atlantic Magazine and The Washington Post for current events and culture. I freelance for a consumer cannabis magazine called Northeast Leaf, which is part of Leaf Nation (leafmagazines.com). It's published on their website and Issuu.com, in addition to the print version. MarijuanaMoment.net is probably the best source for cannabis policy news. It started as an activist newsletter about 15 years ago. It serves the same highly specialized audience that I aim for, people affected by the minutiae of cannabis policy making. Filter Magazine is a nonprofit digital magazine focused on journalism about drugs with a focus on harm reduction. I love their style and their mission.

What effects do you think independent content creators will have on traditional media? How might they affect the cannabis industry?

Aiden: Independent creators have drawn readers from traditional print media for decades. I think they will continue to drive innovation in digital communications and marketing to meet their audience, wherever they are. This is especially true of highly regulated industries like cannabis. Even states that legalize cannabis often restrict standard advertising. Independent creators are filling that role to help the industry connect with their customers and stakeholders.

Inspiration

What inspires you to keep writing?

Aiden: I'm a medical cannabis patient and can't hold gainful employment because of chronic health problems. I've always connected with writers through their work. The only real goal that's stuck with me since childhood is to create great literature. I’ve never been very social, but if my writing connects with someone or gives attention to someone who deserves it, I’m happy.

What do you think are the benefits of syndicating your content through Newstex?

Aiden: For me, it’s about my writing reaching the right audience. With news sources becoming less and less top-down, Newstex syndication allows my site to stand out and be found by the right people. The ones my content will benefit.

Aiden Hunt is a medical cannabis patient, reform advocate and writer. He began practicing freelance journalism as an activist in 2013. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists, he runs and publishes a nonprofit cannabis policy news site called Profiles in Legalization. Aiden lives in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania suburbs.