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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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate.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.

Peers, allies, & competitors:
Twitter, Wordpress, Tumblr, Instapaper, Quora
Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
Nov. 13, 2018 / Joshua Benton
So some people will pay for a subscription to a news site. How about two? Three? — The path forward for premium media is seemingly clear: Put up a paywall. Digital advertising is a duopoly-dominated mess; any print or broadcast cross-subsidy you might have is declining at one speed or another. Your loy...
May 10, 2018 / Shan Wang
Medium abruptly cancels the membership programs of its 21 remaining subscription publisher partners — Medium has informed publishers using its platform to offer paid memberships that it’s ending that feature. An email at the end of last month from Medium’s head of partnerships Basil Enan told publishers that ...
April 30, 2018 / Joshua Benton
Maybe to be at our best on mobile, publishers should think back to the web’s early, visually spare days — Last week marked the 25th anniversary of the 1.0 release of NCSA Mosiac, the first important web browser, the one that led to…well, everything else that’s happened online in the past quarter-century. (Weird t...
Jan. 23, 2018 / Nicholas Quah
Subcast wants to bring podcast publishers and smart-speaker users together — Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 148, published January 23, 2018. First-tinkerer advantage. There should be little doubt over who will set the terms for voice-first computing in its early go...
Oct. 31, 2017 / Christine Schmidt
Stung by Medium’s pivot, The Establishment powers up for a membership-driven future — The Establishment isn’t the first media organization to put a feminist lens on current events and issues, and it won’t be the last. But it did bring on 900 paid members within nine months, has reached over a ...

Recently around the web, from Mediagazer:

Primary author: Linda Kinstler. Main text last updated: August 21, 2014.
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The Nieman Journalism Lab is a collaborative attempt to figure out how quality journalism can survive and thrive in the Internet age.
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