Would you like to pitch Medium’s in-house publications, Matter and Backchannel?
Medium is a new kind of media product — one centered around conversation and reaction, where audience engagement is not an afterthought but something new and participatory at its core. A place for thoughtful and authentic voices to connect, collide, and converse — through words — to build upon our shared understandings, making us all smarter as a result.
Our editorial team has a simple mission: Create incredible, boundary-pushing content that demonstrates the best of what Medium can be. We seed, advance, and lead conversations on the issues that matter most in the world — the most urgent issues and the most neglected. We offer stories and ideas and conversations of real value and real quality to the world — vital, experimental, impactful, that change people’s minds, piss people off, and start or shift the conversation.
Whatever we produce should feel and look and read as though it could only exist on Medium. Our editors and designers work with writers and artists to make sure that everything we produce is mobile-friendly and helps role-model the platform’s latest tools and features.
Among our projects are two Medium-native publications: Matter, the platform’s award-winning publication devoted to finding ambitious and unconventional ways of telling big stories; and Backchannel, launched by Steven Levy, which explores the people and trends affecting the tech industry. Our publications do pay competitive rates.
Below are some guidelines on how to pitch each publication.
If you’re pitching Matter…
We’ve always promised that Matter would just…try stuff.
We’ve done acclaimed longform journalism on non-offending pedophiles, the Syrian civil war, and Mars One. We’ve published Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s on vaccines, Margaret Atwood on climate change, and Patricia Lockwood on dragons. We’ve created extremely NSFW illustrated essays on sexting, high-minded celebrations of the art of video games, and puppet shows about Ebola. We’ve helped Bay Area high schoolers make their own magazine, and devoted an entire month to a conversation about trans issues by trans voices.
Matter stories should be fun, provocative, and transgressive. They should speak to specific, genuine, engaged communities on Medium or elsewhere. We’re constantly experimenting with Medium-native storytelling — so, we want ideas that will use the platform (and its conversational tools) in surprising, troublemaking, inspired ways.
Email us at email@example.com. Pitches should be:
- Topical: It should matter to actual people — and to us — right now.
- Attention-grabbing: We want to publish things that will get noticed, recommended, highlighted, talked about, tweeted about, written about.
- Novel in form or content: Newsiness does not dictate our priorities, newness does — we only publish ideas and stories that are genuinely novel and innovative in their content or form. So: we need to know enough about the execution to understand what the final result will look like — and to understand that this a genuinely new idea, or a genuinely new treatment.
- Participatory: We want people to interact and engage with our stories, highlight them, recommend them, respond to them, building on the ideas. Your work, in other words, shouldn’t be the end product — it should spark conversation, reaction, real-world impact.
If you’re pitching Backchannel…
Every day, if you scan all the web, there are a handful of great pieces, the ones you see cited in places like TechMeme or MediaREDEF, and shared by smart people on social media. Backchannel’s goal is to create one of those pieces every time out — stories filled with delight, insight, deep reporting and lasting value. That might be a teenager’s view of social media, or our innovative, crowd-sourced Apple Watch Project. Or it might be Steven Levy’s interview with “unsung master maker, Alan Adler,” or his fascinating profile of the man who made the UK say “I’m Sorry For What We Did To Alan Turing.” Remember that Seinfeld episode where Elaine’s former boss stole her idea of selling only the delicious crowns of muffins, discarding the relatively flavorless stumps? That’s Backchannel. Only muffin tops.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Pitches should be:
- Original: Stories should be written for a technologically sophisticated audience, but they should reward all readers with surprising narratives and illuminating insights that are compelling even to those who don’t care about gadgets or industry arcana.
- Conversation-starters: A Backchannel story must advance the larger conversation around technology and generate an intense discussion on Medium.
- Expert: If it’s a reported story, the reporting should be deep and the writing reflect a profound understanding of the subject.
- Really, Seriously Expert: Backchannel has already proven it can provide a powerful megaphone to tech luminaries, insiders, and articulate dissidents, and we’ll continue to bring in the biggest and most interesting voices in tech today.
As a writer or creator you should…
- already be on Medium, writing, responding, highlighting, recommending and engaging with communities
- be eager and excited to interact not only with users who respond to your story — but also users out on the platform obsessing over similar ideas and topics.
- want to devise new forms, new projects, new experiments, new stunts, new opportunities, new kinds of trouble to cause and get into
- have lots of big, fun, groundbreaking ideas
- be globally minded and want to address an audience larger than that certain swath of Brooklyn, San Francisco, and D.C.
But here’s the other thing:
Some great ideas don’t fit inside these publications.
Medium, thankfully, is a big open place to play, create, collide, write your own stories and ideas, make cool things. So send us exciting, challenging, innovative, non-publication-based ideas, too. You know the email.