March 28, 2016

A few months after she was fired from her job as The New York Times’ top editor, Jill Abramson announced she was working with media mogul Steven Brill on a longform journalism startup.

The idea, outlined by Abramson in 2014, was ambitious: Commission “one perfect whale of a story” every month for $100,000 and make that story available to readers on a subscription basis.

But the startup hasn’t materialized in the months since the announcement. Abramson and Brill were reportedly in talks to host the venture at The Huffington Post, but that deal never came through — although HuffPost did eventually launch a longform initiative that featured Brill’s work.

Then, earlier today, The Guardian announced that Abramson was joining the British daily as a biweekly political columnist. So, where does that leave the startup?

Reached by email, Brill says work on the idea has ceased while the pair complete projects of their own.

“It’s something we have not totally put aside, but have put in abeyance because we are now both working on books and other projects for the time being,” Brill said.

Brill says he’s currently working on a longform project typical of the work the startup would publish that will be part of a special issue of another publication. TIME previously gave over an edition of its magazine to “Bitter Pill,” a cover story by Brill examining the flaws in America’s healthcare system.

When and if it materializes, Brill and Abramson’s venture wouldn’t be the only journalism startup focused on in-depth journalism. Longform, a Brooklyn-based company founded by journalists Max Linsky and Aaron Lammer, curates longreads from a wide and diverse array of publications in the U.S. and abroad. The Atavist Magazine, also headquartered in Brooklyn, offers longform journalism on a subscription basis and licenses a publishing platform for immersive storytelling.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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