Medium Offers Buyouts to its Editorial Team

Ev Williams, CEO of Medium, announced that there will be changes made to Medium’s editorial strategy and leadership. Employees of Medium are being given a voluntary exit option if they “would like to take a different path”.

…I want to give an option to those who would rather get off this crazy ride. To that end, we’re offering to everyone in editorial a voluntary separation program (VSP). What this means is that they can choose to leave the company and receive a lump sum of payment of five month’s salary to give a buffer to find their next job. (We will also cover six months of health benefits.) Again, this is voluntary and applies to everyone in the editorial organization…

As a writer who occasionally posts things on Medium, I find this interesting. It is good that Medium is giving the editors who choose to leave the platform five months of salary and six months of health benefits. That should make it easier for them to find new jobs.

The Medium post by Ev Williams provides detailed background information that led up to the decision to let the editors go. In 2019, Medium decided to create their own publications. The first one that was launched was called OneZero (which is about tech and science). Medium launched seven magazine-style publications within the next nine months.

According to Ev Williams, commissioning stories from professional writers into publications “worked less well” than hoped. It wasn’t because the writing wasn’t good. The problem was that the Medium subscriber base grew – but the publication’s audiences did not.

One part of the article sticks with me. “Trust is more important than ever and well-established editorial brands still have meaning. But today, credibility and affinity are primarily built by people – individual voices – rather than brands. In fact, that describes the vast majority of what people read on Medium, and is in line with our Relational strategy.”

To me, it sounds like Medium might be gearing up to compete with Substack, Twitter’s Revue, and whatever Facebook is calling its newsletter option. As someone who occasionally posts articles on Medium, I am curious to find out what changes will come.