Matter: kickstartered project to sustain serious, long-form online journalism

Matter is a new startup hoping to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter to support thoughtful, long-form journalism on the Internet. Founded by Bobbie Johnson (my former editor at The Guardian) and respected journalist Jim Giles, it seeks to produce a stable business model for serious, reflective online writing.

MATTER will focus on doing one thing, and doing it exceptionally well. Every week, we will publish a single piece of top-tier long-form journalism about big issues in technology and science. That means no cheap reviews, no snarky opinion pieces, no top ten lists. Just one unmissable story.

MATTER is about brilliant ideas from all around the world, whether they come from professors at MIT or the minds of mad people. But most of all, it’s about getting amazing investigative reporters to tell compelling stories.

We’re building MATTER for readers, not advertisers. So however you access our stories — whether it’s on our website, via the Kindle store, or on your Apple and Android devices — you will get a beautifully designed experience that puts you first.



  1. an important goal and fantastic project, but I found it funny that they used the israeli anthem as part of their video (and yes I’m aware the anthem took the music from somewhere as well) 

  2. Draco: It’s a fair point, but we didn’t go to Kickstarter simply because we wanted to line up pre-sales.

    Sure, you could get the articles cheaper if you turn up later. But the reality is that you don’t get the articles *at all* if we can’t start publishing them. If things go really well (and they are going really well so far: we’re halfway to our funding target in less than 24 hours) then we’ll be reconsidering how we can better reward those who have shown belief in what we’re doing: however, it’s always a case of balancing promises of what sounds good to what is actually achievable.

    But yeah, if you want to buy the stories when they come out and save yourself a few bucks, you can do that too.

  3. Great idea I guess, but I don’t really feel that long form journalism is in danger – it’s regular journalism that’s in trouble. There are always going to be jerks like me that buy the New Yorker, and all the millions of people who read the huffington post aren’t going to give a fig about it.  They don’t have the attention span and/or don’t care.

    Fine idea, but don’t act like you’re saving the world.

    1. We’re not acting like we’re saving the world! We’re just trying to make investigative journalism work on the web, no more, no less. And we’re not expecting it to be something everybody reads.

      Still, we think there are ways to produce this material in a sustainable way — rather than require non-profit status, or rely on owners with deep pockets who can entertain significant losses on magazines for jerks like you and me (like the New Yorker).

  4. I’ll give you money if you release your work under a creative-commons license that allows people to make derivative works:
    * CC-BY
    * CC-BY-SA
    * CC-BY-NC (worse)
    * CC-BY-SA-NC (the worst)
    Why? Because you can enrich the commons with your content by allowing the commons to clearly use your work with attribution. Furthermore you are petitioning the commons for help, why not enrich it as well.

  5. I was all “hell yes!” until I saw that it was specifically “science and technology” articles.  Don’t get me wrong I’m all for science and technology reporting.  I just don’t think that’s where we need better journalism.  Why aren’t they focusing on world events, politics, exposing corruption etc.?  THAT’S where serious, long-form journalism is supremely lacking in our world today.

    I was all ready to dump a couple hundred into their project in the hopes that it would create our generation’s Woodward and Bernstein.  This is great, I just think they could’ve had a lot more impact on the world by focusing on mainstream news.

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