Like The Ringer Before It, Backchannel Is Leaving Medium

Will other publications follow?

Headshot of Corinne Grinapol

The Ringer’s decision last month to leave Medium’s platform for Vox Media foreshadowed the prospect of other publications following The Ringer in search of greener pastures, ones that would support an ad revenue model that Medium decided to pivot away from in January.

Backchannel, the tech- and business-focused site that became part of Condé Nast’s Wired Media Group in June 2016, is the latest to make the move away from Medium. In a little over a week, the site will live on as a weekly digital magazine.

Lest you think the move was a natural migration given that both belong to the same Condé Nast family of publications, editorial director Jessi Hempel, editor in chief Steven Levy and executive editor Sandra Upson specifically cite Medium’s change in focus as the reason in a post:

The short answer is that we love the platform and the thoughtful community that has coalesced around our publication because of Medium. But in the time since Backchannel launched, Medium has shifted its business strategy, and it’s no longer as focused on helping publications like ours profit. To bring you the tech reporting that matters most, we must fund it. Under new editor Nick Thompson, Wired is committed to figuring out how to make a robust business off of thoughtful, meaty journalism. We share this vision and believe that by bringing our publications even closer together, we’ll be doubling down on Backchannel’s original mission.

Medium gained fame, in part, for just these kinds of posts on a platform that humanized organizations by providing them with the opportunity to speak directly to their audiences. In Backchannel’s case, it did so to explain why it’s leaving the platform.