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March 21, 2016, 12:18 p.m.
LINK: medium.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   March 21, 2016

Matter, the longform publication that started out as a Kickstarter-funded journalism project before being acquired by Medium in 2013, is now moving out on its own: Matter editor-in-chief Mark Lotto announced Monday that what was once an online magazine is now “an independent media company called Matter Studios.”

The new Matter is a little tough to describe — as evinced by many ellipses- and “something“-filled tweets Monday — but here’s Lotto’s attempt, in part:

“Matter won’t even be a publication, not anymore, or a publisher, not precisely. We’ve been describing it as sort of a studio and sort of an incubator…

Matter will work with diverse, visionary, entrepreneurial voices—creators who are finding themselves constrained inside even the most forward-thinking media companies, who want to break out, who want to pioneer their own things.

We’re going to give these creators the financing and creative support to develop different media products under their own brands, from multiplatform digital journalism, to podcasts and books, to live events, to streaming film, TV, and video, to new things we haven’t thought of yet. We want stories and projects that are timely, daring, form-breaking, that have genuine social value and cover topics of consequence, that offer unique and underrepresented perspectives, that will bend the zeitgeist and change the culture.”

That’s still pretty vague, but Lotto said “we’ll be announcing an initial slate of creators and projects soon.”

The new Matter Studios is backed by Lotto; his wife, Hillary Frey, who was the executive editor at Fusion (Dodai Stewart will now step into that role); and Ev Williams, the cofounder and CEO of Medium and cofounder of Twitter, who will serve as Matter Studios’ chairman.

Matter Studios is “funded by an initial seven-figure investment by Mr. Williams,” The Wall Street Journal noted.

“The three of us have been talking about this for a long time — about how to do work of impact and fun outside a badly homogenized media environment and free of the preposterous pressures of traffic and scale; how to put the focus back on creators and their individuality, rather than on big brands getting bigger; how to push the boundaries of other platforms and formats as hard and as far as Matter’s pushed Medium,” Lotto wrote.

An advisory board also includes Medium editor Bobbie Johnson, who cofounded the original Kickstarter-ed Matter, and The New York Times’ Lydia Polgreen, among others.

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