I’ll admit it: My first reaction when I saw that there was a 0.99/month subscription price to MATTER was, “Why would I pay for longform journalism when I can get it for free at The Feature or Longform?” The answer was quickly apparent: Because you can’t get Matter’s content anywhere else.
The online publication’s tagline states that “MATTER commissions, crafts and publishes award-winning journalism about science, technology and the ideas shaping our future.”
In other words, it’s completely original journalism.
And they pay for it, too. Founded by journalists Jim Giles and Bobbie Johnson, MATTER started in early 2012 as a Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $140,000. Recently, they were acquired by Medium, Twitter and Blogger co-founder Ev Williams’ celebration of the written word, where writers and readers come together on one awesome platform.
MATTER also favors user interaction — since they’re funded by Kickstarter backers and members who pay that 0.99/month fee to access all articles (the one article per month that they release is free to the public while it’s up). They regularly issue calls for story ideas to their loosely organized editorial board — paying readers — on their blog, OVERMATTER. They run Q&As with their contributors, similar to Reddit’s AMA.
And their content is awesome. Their first story, “Do No Harm,” a piece about Body Integrity Identity Disorder by science writer Anil Ananthaswamy, is free to read. Other articles include “Uprooted,” an exploration of genetic geneology and its implication on privacy by Virginia Hughes, “In the Name of the King” about the religious factions battling to lay claim to Tutankhamun’s past and the science behind uncovering his DNA by Jo Marchant, and “Never Say Die,” which delves into the hunt for life extension, by Megan Scudellari.
So what does 0.99/month get you? Besides supporting excellent journalism…
- Permanent access to the web edition and all archived articles
- The e-book edition for the Kindle and iPad
- A free audiobook edition
- An extra free book chapter each month (this month: Writing on the Wall by Tom Standage.)
Oh, and did I mention it’s gorgeous? All the focus is on the words. I briefly wanted to grouse about the fact that there’s no iPhone app, but no matter — it reads so well in a regular old phone browser.
So go. Read. Join.