A new journalism project that was born in Bernal Heights is getting lots of nationwide buzz. And no, despite what you’re probably thinking… it’s not Bernalwood. The project is called Matter, and it was co-founded by Bernal Heights resident Jim Giles.
Matter is a fledgeling journalism startup that wants to be something like an indie record label for great writing. The difference is, instead of producing earnest pop songs written by bearded men who wear a lot of flannel, Matter will commission, edit, and market New Yorker– or Atlantic-style long-form nonfiction writing focused on science and technology topics. Matter will then sell these articles via all the usual online marketplaces — iTunes, Amazon, Nook, whatever. Here’s the mission statement:
The web is the future of journalism, but let’s be honest: the future isn’t living up to expectations. Newspapers and magazines have cut back on in-depth reporting. Gossip sites have proliferated. The web has become a byword for fast and cheap. Why isn’t it synonymous with fearless, investigative and enthralling writing?
We think it can be.
We’ve developed a way to support independent, global, in-depth reporting about science and technology, two subjects that are close to our hearts. We’re going to use it to build MATTER, the new home for the best journalism about the future.
To get the venture off the ground, the Neighbor Jim and the Matter team have launched a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter that has been going rather swimmingly. Matter hoped to raise $50,000, but instead they’ve already raised more than $100,000, with two weeks remaining in their drive. Woo-hoo!
Meanwhile, on the other side of the continent, Matter has sparked lots of heated discussion about the future of journalism under Matter’s pay-per-article, a-la-carte business model. Will it work? Watch these two media pundits do battle over the question from the lofty heights of a New York high-rise:
… and so on. Matter is an exciting project, and I think it has the potential to be very successful — on its own terms. So stay tuned, and be proud, because the future is being invented right here in Bernal Heights.