Matter and The Magazine

Monday, 18 March, 2013

The business model: A subscription costs $1.99 a month and include access to all back issues. Blurb: “We’re entirely funded by subscribers. Thanks to subscribers, we can attract and support talented writers, illustrators, photographers, and editors.” The Magazine has no ads, but it does publish five medium-length articles every two weeks on a wide variety of subjects, “generally for geeks and curious people,” says its founder, Marco Arment.

Another new player in the longform reading digital space is Matter. The business model: $0.99 per article or a $0.99 monthly subscription with extras such as access to all published articles formatted as an ebook.

This month’s feature, Uprising, describes the odd alliance between a climate skeptic and a climate scientist as they investigate how a crumbling US urban infrastructure might imperil the potential of natural gas as a cleaner alternative to coal. Snippet: “In Massachusetts alone, over 140 million cubic metres of gas was lost every year. Nationwide, the figure was over 8 billion cubic metres — equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from more than 30 coal plants. The American Gas Association, which represents gas utilities, claimed the primary cause of the losses was ‘meter uncertainty'”.

Does online journalism have a future? Matter and The Magazine have taken up the challenge and they’re leading by example.


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