As reported last week, The Nib, the political comics site edited by Matt Bors and run by Medium, is undergoing some changes, and on Friday, Bors explained what’s what. Basically, the site is moving away from daily publishing—and won’t be running weekly comic strips any more—but will continue to publish editorial, satirical and journalistic pieces.
We will no longer be running certain work on certain days or with the same regularity. It’s a departure from what we’ve been doing, for sure, but I came here to experiment with publishing. You’ll see more of it in the coming weeks: response driven features, a new collective I’m building, and anything else I can think of to create interesting comics.
Here’s what isn’t changing: The Nib is always going to be a place for the sharp political cartoons, great journalism and essays that other media outlets are too uninventive or shortsighted to be commissioning themselves.
It will always be that.
In his time at The Nib, Bors has proven himself an exemplary editor, and given a platform to some powerful voices, so I have no doubt that as long as he’s running the ship, the Nib will remain a vibrant site. The once daily Nib newsletter will now go out once a week and spotlight other work by Nib contributors, among other chagnes. In his Friday post, Bors also mentioned a future Kickstarter to collect some of the work from the site—he successfully Kickstarted a book of his Pulitzer Prize finalist comics back in 2012.
With all this talk of change, I wondered what was going on with Darling Sleeper, the indie comics site edited by Jesse Lucas, but it updated today so it seems to be carrying on as before.
Medium was launched as a site for “long form content” by Twitter co-founder Ev Williams two years ago, and like many start-ups is still looking for a revenue source, In december Williams was interviewed by USA Today and talked about the need to clarify what they were doing:
The 75-person start-up started by Williams and his Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, is used by up to 17 million people a month, including President Obama and Elon Musk. It has become an impressive forum for essays on tech and design, book chapters – even poetry.
“It’s easy to jump in and publish something aesthetically pleasing,” says Natalie Bartlett, community and content lead at Rough Draft Ventures in New York. For the past year, she has posted items of entrepreneurs on Medium.
Yet the 2-year-old writing platform is a work in progress amid so many content outlets online, summarily characterized by some as another vanity project by a tech exec dabbling in journalism (see Pierre Omidyar, First Look Media; and Chris Hughes, The New Republic).
In April Williams spoke with Wired about the site, bravely championing quality content before clickbait. The Nib was definitely the former, and hopefully it will continue to develop in that direction.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.