Medium shutters media sites, pivots to Substack model

Medium, the blogging site that's also an off-again-on-again publisher, is off again. Founder Ev Williams announced that it would shut down its media sites and offer redundancy packages to the contributors, leaving the platform to pursue a Substack-style model centered on individual writers.

"I think a significant factor is that the role of publications — in the world, not just on Medium — has decreased in the modern era. I don't mean the role of professional editorial, but the idea of an imprimatur that establishes credibility or trust. Trust is more important than ever and well-established editorial brands still have meaning. But today, credibility and affinity are primarily built by people — individual voices — rather than brands."

Vice pointed out that the move comes soon after a union drive at Medium failed by only one vote.

A current Medium employee said they believe that the move was retaliation for unionizing: "Editorial was the department that supported the union most vocally and visibly … this is coming basically a month after a failed union drive preceded by pretty blatant union busting tactics by management." 

But it's also true that Medium has wiped the slate clean once or twice before, adopting new journalistic or media models as it tries to find a path to sustainability.