Medium buys science journalism site Matter

Medium, a platform for longform content founded by Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, has acquired the online science journalism magazine Matter.

Williams was one of the first backers of Matter's Kickstarter campaign last February, which raised $140,000 quickly.

"After we launched, Ev told us how his team wants Medium to be the best place on the internet to read and create high-quality content," Medium founders Bobbie Johnson and Jim Giles write in a blog post announcing the acquisition. "And earlier this year, he suggested that Matter become part of that project."

Matter has been working from the Medium offices for a few weeks, Giles told Poynter by phone. "What will change in the short term? Nothing," said Giles, who declined to discuss any financial arrangements. "We don't want to change the business model yet."

Matter publishes one longform article about science or technology every month and sells them through its site and Amazon's Kindle store. Members of Matter pay $.99 per month to subscribe.

Williams has said he'd like Medium to create "a better Twitter for long-form content," as Rip Empson put it in TechCrunch last month. That space, Empson notes, is currently owned by Tumblr.

"I wanted them to continue what they were doing," Williams writes in his own post announcing the acquisition:

publishing great articles and defining a new model to support investigative journalism. (And I knew that cracking that second part would have huge implications.) In addition, they could use Medium to add new dimensions to what they do.

Giles said access to Medium's editorial team, which includes Kate Lee and Evan Hansen -- to "have other smart journalists around us to bounce ideas around with," he said -- was part of the appeal, though he said that in the short term, the acquisition means nothing in terms of Matter's editorial mission, either.

"There's a bunch of experiments we’d like to do to make the site better," Giles said. "Little tweaks, not wholesale changes that could make it better for us." Medium, he said, will be "a really good place to grow Matter."

Related: Sara Morrison on Matter's launch (CJR) | Christopher Mims on why he thought it would work | Stephen Robert Morse on why he thought it wouldn't work

Recently in longform journalism news: Atlantic, Longreads announce partnership | Longform project’s founder: ‘We want to see if there is a way to help get to Yes’ | BuzzFeed launching longform ‘BuzzReads’ section

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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