Jim Giles and his business and editorial partner, Bobbie Johnson, launched MATTER in 2012. The two experienced journalists wanted stories that assessed scientific claims critically and also had some length and strong narratives. They got down to business, after a successful campaign with Kickstarter, and published ambitious stories, thousands of words long. A notable success was Virginia Hughes’ piece “23 and You,” an exploration of the ethics and familial complications behind genetic testing companies like 23andMe, chosen for an anthology of best science writing.
But Giles is no longer with the digital magazine. The magazine no longer publishes long-form science stories and has sometimes veered into fluff on topics like online hook-ups and sexting. What happened?