Matter on iPad

A long-form journalism project which will produce digital content on the subjects of science and technology today launched with its first story.

Matter was established by journalists Bobbie Johnson, European editor at technology site GigaOM and Jim Giles, a US freelance reporter who has written for titles including the Economist and New Scientist. They took to crowdfunding platform Kickstarter with an original aim of raising $50,000 to get started, but ended up raising $140,000 in total.

Each article costs $0.99 to access, and can be viewed either an ebook via Amazon, or on its members-only site.

According to the site, which went live today, as part of the article purchase readers will receive a "distraction-free web edition", and ebook for Kindle or iPad and an invite to a Q&A with the author".

The site also offers membership for $0.99 a month, which offers additional benefits as well as access to all Matter's content. For example members will also receive an audiobook version of the article, automatic delivery to Kindle devices and "the chance to help shape the stories we cover through our crowdsourced ideas engine", called the Editorial Board.

"The system is based around All Our Ideas, an open source tool developed at Princeton," Matter says on its membership page. "Members can use the tool to suggest ideas for stories, filter and refine suggestions made by others, and vote on the subjects they want to see us cover.

"We've already run pilot tests with great success, and we look forward to putting the Editorial Board into action soon."

Matter has been working with designers at Clearleft to build the site, which Johnson told earlier in the year aims to "look beautiful" and "work across many difference devices".

The idea will be to treat each story "as an individual publication", he said at the time, with the ultimate aim of publishing once or twice a week - in which case membership rates may increase - although for now articles are being published monthly.

Speaking to today Johnson added: "It's nice for us to finally be able to show people what we've been working on and get some feedback on it. We hope it shows the direction at which we're trying to take things in."

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