The death of content curation: Is Medium turning into a sub-Substack?

Raphael Tsavkko Garcia
4 min readMar 31, 2021
Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

So, Medium’s publications are basically dead. They paid handsomely. Not anymore.

I’ll miss publishing at OneZero and Level, but more than that, I’ll miss the business model — professional writers getting paid by publications with a whole editorial structure. Not so much the long wait to hear back from editors as, like most good pubs, they were always overwhelmed with pitches, but definitely the quality of the edits, the exchanges, etc.

Although we don’t know yet what Medium’s planning, I’d bet they are moving towards a “substack” model, ie, they’ll select a few star writers, people already famous and capable of building a network on their own, while letting go journalists that still need traditional pubs to survive.

At least that’s what I could gather from the info we have so far and Medium’s idea of helping out/promoting selected journalists/writers.

It doesn’t matter how much money they’ll save from shifting the model of these pubs, the money they “share” with writers is less than pennies and I doubt this will change for the absolute majority of them (us).

And that’s bad news. For everyone (well, except for those few selected by Medium to be their stars).

What explains such a drastic change of direction?

Maybe people like to hear/read the opinion of others, generally who agree with them, more than reading good journalistic articles that might challenge their preconceived ideas? It wouldn’t be a novelty, Facebook works like that. The whole internet seems to be based on solely reading what we like and never being challenged or… “offended” - that seems to be the buzzword of the decade.

I’m not a fan of Substack, but also I have nothing against it, I believe it’s just another player with a business model of its own and that has ultimately worked. Sure, I like reading some journalists from time to time with cunning opinions that probably wouldn’t find a home anywhere else — or at least not with the same amount of freedom.

But I absolutely despise how the industry tends to copy everything that a competitor creates — see the unbearable Stories that are everywhere now and soon Clubhouse will also be copied…

Raphael Tsavkko Garcia

Journalist, PhD in Human Rights (University of Deusto). MA in Communication Sciences, BA in International Relations.