Some sad news, and a goodbye post, several weeks in advance of the actual goodbye.
I’m writing this on a plane crossing the Atlantic Ocean. I’m in the dead center of the cabin — no windows or aisles on either side, only people — but if I could see out the window, I know I would see only ocean and only sky. I’m in between places, which feels like being nowhere, and that seems like a good place to start this post: I’m leaving Medium.
The terms of my contract with Medium have changed a few times, in the roughly eight (eight!) years I’ve been here, but since the summer of 2020, the deal has been that I get a monthly advance of a little over two thousand dollars, based on projected traffic, plus whatever I earn over that amount through traffic itself. For the record, I’ve out-earned my advance every month. The program itself, though, is ending. I’ll keep filing this column more or less weekly until the end of the year, and then — along with every other writer on the program, as far as I understand it — I’ll be done.
This isn’t a surprise. Medium famously changes models a lot, from publication to open-platform and back again. In the past year, I’ve seen several friends leave, including Katelyn Burns, who has a huge following, and John DeVore, who was here long before me. If they were leaving, all of us were in trouble. It’s not good news, but it’s not a shock.
So I’m not blindsided, and I’m not angry, either. Again, I’ve been with Medium a very long time, through a lot of pivots, and they have always treated me excellently, both in terms of the pay and in terms of the care and respect given to me by the editorial team. I was supposed to lose my job in the last editorial pivot, back in 2020, and for a few weeks, I thought I had; I’m still here because my editors and the senior leadership went out of their way to find a job for me. They really did work to keep me here for as long as possible, but sooner or later, the site always turns a corner, and everyone gets shaken off. Again, I knew it was coming, and I spent a lot of 2023 trying to line up other projects. I’m not ready to announce anything, but I do have work. Lots of that work is actually outside of the rapid-response 24-hour news cycle, which means I might get to spend election year doing something other than…