Veteran music blogger, editor, and critic Maura Johnston, the founding editor of Gawker’s music blog, Idolator (now part of Buzz Media), and more recently music editor of the Village Voice, has struck out on her own with a subscription app for iPhone and iPad that asks readers to pony up $3 per month.
Why would someone pay to read words, when they are all over the internet — for free, no less?
In part, they might because Maura Magazine aspires towards longer-form stories free of “click bait” stories that lure the reader in with a salacious only to underdeliver, or even worse, force the reader to click through 10-20 pages in order to get to the end of a list. She’s also going down this paid subscription path, where Andrew Sullivan, Marc Maron, and Louis CK have somewhat similarly dared to tread, due to finding a like-minded publisher in 29th Street Publishing.
“I’m doing Maura Magazine, first and foremost, because the people at 29th Street Publishing are amazing to work with — smart and creative and they really get the spirit of the web I loved,” Johnston told Evolver.fm.
“I want to create a space that acts on a dual assumption: Writers know that they’ll be allowed to pursue (and get paid for) stories or ideas in a way that doesn’t necessarily demand clicks,” she added, “and readers won’t be baited into clicking on pieces that are all headline, no post. And I’m excited to see how this evolves over time.”
After paging through the free issue that comes with the free app (you didn’t think she’d ask you to subscribe sight unseen, did you?), we’re pleased to report that the app is well-designed, and the stories well-written. In addition, the app can store content in local iOS memory, so you can still tap through to new stories even without an internet connection, making it as plausible a subway companion as a book or magazine, except you don’t have to carry around bits of dead tree.