Joshua Topolsky’s new site now has a name and some spectacular hires

Motherboard’s Adrianne Jeffries, Genius’ Leah Finnegan, and Billy ‘Not Walt’ Disney

Joshua Topolsky’s new site now has a name and some spectacular hires

Co-founder and former editor-in-chief of The Verge, Joshua Topolsky, has a new website. It’s called The Outline, and, considering the current climate of broad-appeal, social-first content, it sounds pretty refreshing.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Topolsky, who […] recently served as the top digital editor at Bloomberg, has raised $5 million to found The Outline, a new digital publication set to debut this fall.
Mr. Topolsky is touting The Outline as something of the antidote to a rising crop of digital media brands that are reliant on social media distribution and, in his mind, are too focused on reaching massive user totals.
Instead, with The Outline, Mr. Topolsky said he is aiming to reach roughly 10 to 15 million users, most of whom come directly to his site. “This has to be a real brand,” he said. The site’s content will focus on three areas: power, as it relates to subjects like politics and business; culture; and the future. He said he’s aiming for a smart, influential readership.


too often, “you get trapped into chasing just a little more audience, and you never change your product,” he said. “You get locked in. We are not interested in a horserace.”

It’s worth noting that The Verge also started off with similar ambitions of premium, distinctive content, but quickly got distracted by the wonders of social-friendly content.

So maybe The Outline will face a similar challenge in the coming years, or maybe Topolsky really is the person who can change, or at least challenge the current venture-backed, predictably-written digital media landscape.

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From Topolsky’s post:

The WSJ article mentioned senior editors Aaron Edwards [Buzzfeed News], Adrianne Jeffries [Vice], and CRO Amanda Hale — all completely brilliant in a million different ways — but I wanted to talk about some of the other geniuses involved.
Our CTO is Ivar Vong. Ivar created the backbone of the absolutely stellar Marshall Project, and is bringing a revolutionary way of looking at technology to the process of building a new media business.
Leah Finnegan — who has been doing some of the funniest, smartest, and most cutting editorial commentary on the web at Genius — joins as a senior editor.
Billy Disney, the former head of video at Genius, and Jordan Oplinger, the former head of video at Reddit are also on the team. Both are insanely talented creators and big, big thinkers. John Lagomarsino is joining us from Mic, where he was Audio Director, and is helping us build fascinating new things with sound.
Binding all of this madness together is Elias Rothblatt (who’s middle name is Magic, for real) — formerly of Payfone — who is our chief of staff.
We’re also working closely with my great friends, collaborators, and partners in the business at Code & Theory.

You can read Topolsky’s full announcement post via his Medium, or you can read our pretty chill interview with the man himself here:

A quick DM-sesh with Joshua Topolsky — gloss_profiles
Snappy talks with cool people in tech, gloss and culture.