Matter, which is the brainchild of journalists Jim Giles, a US freelance reporter who has written for titles including the Economist and New Scientist, and Bobbie Johnson, European editor at technology site GigaOM, earlier this year used crowdfunding platform Kickstarter with the aim of raising $50,000 to start the project, achieving this in just 38 hours.
Speaking at a Hacks/Hackers Brighton meet up on Tuesday (3 July), Johnson said the site should be ready for launch in September, and will adopt a payment plan offering stories for $0.99.
The project has 2,500 backers, thanks to the project's success on Kickstarter, which Johnson said had made it the most successful journalism project on the platform in terms of funds raised.
Since the end of its crowdfunding, and having raised $140,000, Matter has been busy "building" its platform, working with designers at Clearleft.
Johnson said the aim is for the project to "look beautiful" and also "work across many difference devices", from an iPad and phone to Kindle and desktop.
The idea will be to treat each story "as an individual publication", with the aim of publishing around one article a week when the project is up and running.
"Each story as an individual publication, it's a small book. It isn't a magazine, it isn't a website, it's Matter."
And there will also be a drive to make each story beautiful, he added, with the possibility of commissioning original art to accompany pieces.
The overall idea to follow the "less is more" mantra will support the project's focus on long-form, in-depth journalism, on stories they consider important but untold, and which as a result will get ample opportunity to reach the audience.
Blogging about this approach earlier this year Johnson said that while "there may be an apparently infinite supply of material; there is certainly not an infinite supply of attention".
"Being bigger and carrying more stories may not always be the best way to get that attention."
Therefore he added that at Matter: "We think that publishing a careful, discrete amount of stories is a strength, rather than a weakness, because it allows us to focus on doing the best possible job in all kinds of ways."
In a separate blog post he also said that Matter will not be releasing an iOS or Android app at launch, but that "you’ll be able to get our first stories at our website, as well on the Kindle, iPad and other e-readers".
He explained this is "partly a matter of priorities", with a desire to focus on spending the money raised so far on "great content and a beautiful website", and also a "question of whether it’s worth building an app" anyway.
Free daily newsletter
- 5 Slack communities for journalists to share ideas and collaborate
- 7 months after launch, El Español finds it challenging to pursue both high traffic and subscriptions
- Google awards funding to 128 European projects as part of its Digital News Initiative
- Tip: Bookmark this list of essential digital journalism tools
- 'We have to keep innovating. Those who don't adapt will die.' – Q&A with WSJ's John Crowley