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Key links:
Primary website:
https://medium.com
Primary Twitter:
@Medium

Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

Medium is a public blogging platform designed by Twitter founder Evan Williams and Obvious to encourage reader-writer collaboration. Medium users can write, comment, and contribute to posts, organize collections of content, or simply read what others have posted. The site is designed to be complementary to Twitter, and only those with a Twitter account can join.

The beta version of Medium debuted in August 2012, and its most striking feature is its simplicity. It purposely elides plug-ins and sidebars, and as Williams’ introductory note states, “there is nothing to set up or customize.” With ample white space, a curated home page of the best — not the most recent — content, and a built-in pre-publish collaboration tool, the goal of Medium is to reinvent how prose is composed and experienced online. Observers have questioned the purpose of Medium, debating whether it’s intended to be similar to a curated magazine, a more open blogging platform or something in between. Williams has described Medium as both a platform for individuals to publish and a publisher itself.

The Medium team is composed of alumni from past Obvious ventures, including Twitter, Odeo, and Blogger. It has mostly been self-funded, but raised its first outside capital – $25 million – in 2014. On occasion, its editorial team commissions posts and pays authors for contributing, and they also accept pitches from experienced journalists for investigative pieces. It has been criticized by some writers for its pay-per-click policy. In 2013, Medium opened access to everyone.

Medium bought the science journalism startup Matter in 2013 and relaunched it in 2014 as an online magazine. It hired tech writer Steven Levy from Wired in 2014. It also planned to launch a music magazine later that year.

Obvious has also partnered with Branch, a content-sharing venture designed by Josh Miller, Cemre Güngöre, and Hursh Agrawal that came out of beta in August 2012. Originally called Roundtable, Branch aims to incubate “high quality public discourse” by allowing users to “host” discussions that they can invite their friends to join. Branch is also behind Potluck, a link-sharing platform. Both were bought by Facebook in 2014.

Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
June 21, 2017 / Ricardo Bilton
The Economist is using Medium to give readers an inside look at its reporting and production — Is The Economist left- or right-wing? Why are The Economist’s writers anonymous? Why does The Economist call itself a newspaper? Readers have a lot of questions about the 173-year-old magazine — ahem, newspaper — a...
May 1, 2017 / Laura Hazard Owen
Amid the wreckage of fallen startups, Longreads is increasing the original reporting it funds — At eight, Longreads is a bit of a wizened survivor. During its lifetime, startups trying to do similar things to it have come and gone. Byliner collapsed, Atavist shrunk, and Medium — a much larger company with way mor...
April 24, 2017 / Jeff Israely
Jeff Israely: What comes next in the Uberization of the news business? — Both Uber the company and Uber the concept are juicy subjects for those of us in the business of assigning and writing articles. The company changing the ways of commerce and transport seems to keep winding up in street ...
April 24, 2017 / Jeff Israely
O que se segue à “uberização” da indústria das notícias? — Tanto a empresa Uber como o conceito Uber são assuntos interessantes para quem trabalha no negócio de encomendar e escrever artigos. A empresa que está a mudar o comércio e os transportes parece acabar constantemente...
March 22, 2017 / Laura Hazard Owen
“Media is broken,” so Medium’s launching a $5/month member program that offers small upgrades — In an attempt to find a new business model for publishing after its previous one failed to make money, Medium is rolling out a membership program that will cost $5 a month (for now) and sounds like a little bit Spotify, ...

Recently around the web, from Mediagazer:

Primary author: Linda Kinstler. Main text last updated: August 21, 2014.
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Slate is an online political and cultural magazine founded in 1996 and currently owned by the Graham Holdings Co. Slate was launched by former New Republic editor Michael Kinsley and initially owned by Microsoft — one of the first online-only publications founded as part of a major corporation or media outlet. Much of Slate’s commentary…

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