A couple of thoughts on whether the NYT wrote Medium’s obit

Leslie Loftis
2 min readMay 22, 2017

The New York Times is not impressed with Medium. In “The Internet is Broken: @ev is trying to salvage it,” David Streitfeld went though Ev as “Forrest Gump of the internet” and other themes ranging from lucky to titling at windmills.

I don’t read the NYT unless somebody links to it. Today that was Roy Schlegel quoting the article and wondering if the NYT had just run Medium’s obituary. It isn’t that Streitfeld fails to make any points. In fact, he makes a few good ones. But the overall the article strikes me as a giant eyeroll of “again?”

First, it’s the NYT who just sent out an announcement to staff about editor “buyouts.”

The NYT is in the broken internet publishing with all of us. So acting like the presiding judge with the heap of condescension in the opening, it is a bit much, all things considered.

More substantively, not that I’m cheering the results of Medium’s move to membership — did they really expect publications with thousands of followers who saw their average story views drop into the 20’s would stick around? — but I am still on board with Ev’s points about experimentation. For a small subset of writers and publishers, it is experimentation that matters now. And Ev is the one experimenting. For the record, I also like some of the ideas I’m seeing about local journalism coming from Kristen Hare at Poynter and Matt Carroll, this piece I found via Carroll is particularly intriguing.

I hoped, but did not expect, that the experiments would all go well. Granted, I don’t plan on monetizing my publication here so I can wait out the failed experiments. Or perhaps they were testing another metric and there really is some good in the results. I’m skeptical but I am not privy to the big picture. Again, I can wait.

As I’ve grown not exactly fond of, more resigned to, saying, I cannot keep up with much less fix current American crazy. But I can help develop the news structure we fall into once the crazy has done its thing.

So Ev found that the membership model of March ’17 doesn’t work. Excellent. Another data point. Refine and try again. Pretty sure that’s how we got the light bulb, the airplane, the steam engine, etc. Granted, those are physical things. Creating a system. That will be harder.

I keep seeing the point Streitfeld mentions in the conclusion. “Medium hasn’t solved the problem of publishing on the internet, but neither has anyone else.”

Leslie Loftis

Teacher of life admin and curator of commentary. Occasional writer.