After a period of buzz and mystery, former Bloomberg and Verge editor Josh
Topolsky’s new media venture, The Outline, has finally launched.
A reference point for The Outline pre-launch had been The New Yorker for millennials, or the digital age, which Topolsky had said “in some ways makes sense, and in a million ways doesn’t.” But The Outline definitely has a commitment to reaching high-brow readers.
The content of the site will be a mix of deep, reported stories and “smart aggregation,” Topolsky told The Wall Street Journal. What does that mean? One way is having a key quote from another publication’s article, on top of a big picture, with a link out.
That all seems more or less what you might get from many aspiring new media publications.
But The Outline’s presentation is more of a departure. Its website feels like a mixture between a print magazine and Snapchat’s Discover section. It isn’t a list of headlines, and there’s a lot of “swiping” on mobile, versus scrolling, which Topolsky said is by design.
“You won’t see a feed on The Outline,” he told The Journal. “This is about the swipe not the scroll.”
Also, like Snapchat, it can feel initially overwhelming. The psychedelic design isn’t intuitive, and you’ll have to tinker around a bit to figure it out (again, like Snapchat).
As to advertising, The Outline again takes a nod from both the world’s of magazine’s and Snapchat. On phones, it will feature full-screen ads the company wants “to look art directed.” Videos are filmed in three different aspect ratios, ensuring the right look whether you visit from your phone, computer, or tablet.
Head over to the site for a look at The Outline’s day one content, including looks at a vigilante app, what happens when you transition genders and then decide to go back, and a community of YouTube scratch-off lotto enthusiasts.
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