Joshua Topolsky’s latest website, The Outline, goes live today
The former editor-in-chief of the technology blog Engadget, and the founder of The Verge, today launched a new website called The Outline. The mobile-first site will likely be noticed first due to its design, then maybe later for its actual content.
In a notice I received earlier this morning I was told that the site is “not for everyone. It’s for you.” What that means is very hard to tell, and in Topolsky’s introductory post it remains rather vague.
“Our foundational reason for building The Outline is that we’re really excited about putting something into the world that wasn’t there before,” Topolsky wrote. “We’re focused on three topics that are increasingly converging in strange and important ways: power (who has it, who wants it, and what do they do when they get it?), culture (the way we live and communicate), and the future (where we’re going next).”
Topolsky likes to talk to The Wall Street Journal about his projects so I will refer you there for any discussion of what the new site is trying to do. In the meantime, whether it builds an audience will be determined less by its design, sorry to say, but by whether the site offers up anything interesting to read. That we won’t know for a while.
Here is the announcement for the new site:
NEW YORK, NY – December 5, 2016 — Joshua Topolsky, Founder of Independent Media, today launched The Outline, a digital news platform that embraces a bold new vision for storytelling at a pivotal moment in media. The Outline will deliver smart, uncompromising stories to young, curious readers who are craving authenticity—now more than ever. The editorial will focus on three themes: power, culture, and the future. The publication’s groundbreaking design will offer a user experience that harnesses cutting edge technology to leverage the full power of the open web. The Outline is the first brand from Independent Media.
“For us the next wave in media is about focus. It’s about creating a voice that resonates. It’s about recognizing that there’s a modern audience with a different way of looking at the world, and there’s an incredible opportunity to show that audience something new,” said Josh Topolsky, Founder of The Outline. Topolsky has blazed a trail through the new media landscape as Co-Founder of Vox Media/The Verge, the former Digital Content Chief of Bloomberg Media, and the former Editor-in-Chief of Engadget.
The Outline is a new way to experience content, made for a generation of people who see everything mobile-first. The Outline has created a radically original system that allows individual ideas to take their ideal form, beyond article and slideshow formats. The design empowers creators to build unique experiences, and brings those experiences to users in a fluid, swipe-driven approach focused on natural, mobile storytelling.
Independent Media and The Outline are funded by some of the most influential investors in media, including RRE Ventures, investors in BuzzFeed, Business Insider, and Huffington Post; Boat Rocker Media, producers of BBC America and Spaces’ Orphan Black; Advancit Capital, co-founded by Shari Redstone, vice-chairman of CBS and Viacom, and NextView Ventures.
Designed in partnership with creative agency Code and Theory, The Outline presents a whole new way of thinking about news. “Building The Outline with Josh and his team allowed us to create something from the ground up that offers the right tools for the right story. It’s truly a new kind of media brand and platform unencumbered by legacy technology or legacy structures,” said Dan Gardner, Co-Founder of Code and Theory.
The Outline approaches advertising in the same bold, innovate way—instead of obvious advertorials, partners can harness the same storytelling tools the Outline editorial teams use to create authentic and beautiful experiences. Experiences that are relevant for brands, and truly integrated for consumers. Launch partners include Under Armour Sportswear, method, and Cadillac.
“The Outline’s willingness to embrace what it believes its readers embrace—a love of compelling stories but a rejection of doing things ‘how they’ve always been done’ is why we’re part of its first steps,” said Melody Lee, Cadillac Brand Marketing Director. “Our partnership with The Outline gives Cadillac the chance to live up to its brand promise of driving the world forward, and celebrating those who do.”