Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Will ReadMatter Really Matter?

Two enterprising journalists, Jim Giles and Bobbie Johnson, decided that it was time for an innovative online magazine - Matter. The format will long-form investigative narrative journalism about science and technology. “No cheap reviews, no snarky opinion pieces, no top ten lists,” they promise. “Just one unmissable story.”

Both journalists have an impressive resume: Jim Giles wrote for Nature and The Economist) and Bobbie Johnson for The Guardian and The New York Times. Not too shabby.

They decided to use Kickstarter to raise $ 50,000 in funds. They were more than successful – they raised over $140,000. People gave way more than I thought they would,” said Jim Giles. “We have tapped into frustration with the way the internet has promoted quick and cheap journalism and bashed longer-quality stuff, or at least undermined the business model that used to support that sort of thing.”

Matter tweeted on April, 4: “We don't have a set launch date, but it will probably be in a couple of months”. Once Matter is alive, readers will have the option of buying individual stories for 99 cents each or opt for a subscription. The magazine will be monthly at first, and then weekly, assuming everything goes according to plan.

The 99 cents model is clever. Readers can purchase an article and read it on Kindle and iPad. Giles and Johnson leverage the ebooks hype. Some journalists and writers make money via Amazon and news sites such as atavist.net with stories that are too long to be published in a newspaper or magazine, and too short for a book.

Matter wants writers to approach them with vague ideas. The writer then gets matched to an editor very early on — before the piece is even formally commissioned — and the final article comes together as a collaboration between the writer, editor, and publishers.

However, Matter is quite narrow in what it wants to publish. It is focusing on long-form, narrative, investigative news stories about science and technology. To overcome this hurdle, the founders are looking at different models e.g., cooperating with newspapers.

Let’s wait and see if it lives up to its promise of “gripping exposes of online crime, untold tales of environmental threats, inside stories about revolutionary technologies and exclusive reports from the most controversial research labs.” Time will tell.......

No comments: