Thursday, January 17, 2013
The new journalism: Why delivery matters

Matter was Kickstarter funded, journalist founded, and champions long-form feature writing. For those reasons I was pretty happy to bung it a few quid before it launched in exchange for some free articles and a rather nice t-shirt.

I funded it so long ago, I can't remember how many articles I get, or how much it costs. I don't even remember how much I invested, but I do know that I really enjoyed the first issue. It wasn't much better than something you might read in a 'serious' news magazine, but it was good.

The fact that it was just a well-written article - not really life-changing in any way - got me wondering what the fuss was all about. Why was I excited to be reading it, over an article I might read in The Economist or New Scientist?

Then I went to read the second issue and realised that it was the Matter experience, rather than the content itself, that got me excited.

First, reading Matter makes you feel like you're part of a club. I'm sure a lot of readers are Kickstarter backers, which gives you a great sense of being part of a movement. (I cannot wait to get my Pebble and then see the first person wearing one.)

Second, Matter looks modern. It has huge, colourful pictures and gigantic fonts which look brilliant on a tablet. It pushes the boundaries.

Third, it works really well. I logged in on my iPad, touched a button and the article appeared on my Kindle. No fuss, unlike most sites or apps built by traditional publishers.

This is why projects like Matter herald the future of journalism. It's not the writing. Great writing is great writing, whether that's delivered on paper or screen. Today, delivery is everything. Tailoring content to delivery and matching the delivery mechanism to the audience is the future. I love science and technology and iPads and Kindles and great design, and Matter nails it on every level for me.

Once every 'traditional' media outlet works this out and designs the delivery with the audience in mind - dumping their old-fashioned site, prison-like paywall or unfathomable app in the process - we will have saved journalism.