Medium, the publisher-platform hybrid backed by Twitter cofounder Ev Williams, is relaunching Matter today. As you may recall Matter was a successful Kickstarter project for in-depth reporting that Medium acquired last year.
“The relaunch of Matter is our most ambitious publishing effort to date, but it’s likely not our last,” Williams wrote in a Medium post. He described a somewhat shifted vision for Medium, which has evolved from a low-barrier blogging platform to a virtual publishing house with off-the-shelf tools available to all. Digital magazines like Matter, operating under the Medium umbrella, will serve as trailblazers for the broader community of contributors.
But whatever you do, don’t call this grand experiment a magazine–these days our discomfort with traditional media labels matches our distaste for newfangled jargon (see: “platisher”). “We’re sort of a magazine for a generation who grew up not caring about magazines,” Matter editor-in-chief Mark Lotto, who previously worked for GQ and the New York Times, wrote in a corresponding post.
Medium, for its part, has structured its platform around individual stories and storytellers, rather than magazine-like product experiences that bundle stories together. That somewhat agnostic approach to editorial products appears to have rubbed off on Matter, which has broadened its initial focus on science and technology to encompass everything from the feminism of Britney Spears to the emotional toll of reporting on racism. “We’re not going to be Wikipedia-broad, but we’re not going to be niche either,” Lotto said.