clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tech writer Steven Levy is in talks to leave Medium and head back to Conde Nast

Conde and Medium may also strike a distribution + ads deal.

Thos Robinson/Getty Images
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Tech journalist Steven Levy is on the move.

The veteran writer is in talks to bring Backchannel, the tech hub he started for Medium in 2014, to Conde Nast, the publisher whose Wired magazine had previously employed him. Conde and Medium are also talking about a broader deal that would allow Conde to distribute some of its content on Medium’s publishing platform/network.

People familiar with the conversations say they haven’t finished, but that talks are fairly advanced. Levy declined to comment, as did reps for Medium and Conde.

The move is worth noting because Levy is a longtime fixture in tech publishing and retains access to some of the biggest names and companies in the industry. It is also worth noting because it will mean the end of Medium’s role as a traditional publisher, where it paid people to create content for its own platform.

The is-Medium-a-publisher-or-a-platform question confused many folks, including me. But Medium has been unwinding its home-grown content business for some time and is now squarely in the platform business: It wants to provide a home for stuff other people make, whether it’s on their own or via publishing operations like Bill Simmons’s Ringer.

It’s unclear what form Backchannel would continue in, but a logical guess would be that Levy would continue to use Medium to publish the stories that he and other contributors write. I assume, but haven’t confirmed, that Backchannel would end up rolled into Conde’s Wired digital group for the purposes of ad sales, just as Conde has done with Ars Technica, the tech site it acquired in 2008.

Last week, Medium announced it had raised $50 million in a funding round that valued the company at $600 million.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.