Yet websites are treated as these embarrassing, ugly, ad-riddled things, whilst newsletters have established some kind of prestige for themselves somehow.
I saw this article about newsletters and how people like them more than websites despite the web having all these pretty fonts and layout capabilities.
That misses the point. Good writing is good writing irrespective of fonts and typography.
Newsletters are usually read via a mail client. This means those articles already use beautiful (licensed) system fonts. They’re already downloaded onto your system so they load instantly. They’re hand curated by yourself. They’re in your inbox. No infinite scrolling or comments or faff.
People like newsletters more than the web because they don’t use RSS and mail clients stopped including RSS readers.