Materia: “lee, piensa, comparte”

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“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.” Carl Sagan

Materia is a new website dedicated to science, health, and environmental news. It was launched on July 3rd, 2012, after an announcement circulated on Twitter two months earlier. The first week after the launch Materia was visited by about 50,000 usuarios and 87,000 pages were views.

Last week we had the pleasure to have Patricia Fernández de Lis, Materia’s director, as a guest during the Enrique Dans‘s class.

Patricia has worked as editor for El País and as editor in chief in Público, up to land this new project as its guide. It is amazing the passion that she transmits speaking about Materia as well as her desire to continue with the project despite the difficulties and the obstacles they are facing.
In fact, Materia is currently funded by its own creators, seven journalists coming from the science section of Público , none of them with experience in website and new technologies.
It is a real transfer of traditional journalism in the new virtual world, with the aim of filling “a gap in the Spanish media landscape”, as they use to define it. But the problem now is to find the right business model for Materia and people willing to bet on and support it.

Patricia seems very optimistic about it. She firmly believes that the situation will improve: “we only have to find our community, and the rest will come after”.

Actually, Materia already has its own community: with 45,421 followers in Twitter, and 12,628 “like” in Facebook, they have a business niche composed by almost 50,000 people, most of them actively participating and interacting through social networks.

But, “are people willing to pay just to keep doing the page and to follow receiving high quality science news?”  This is the question that in these days circulates in the Materia’s newsroom. Are Spaniards ready to pay to get science news written specifically for common people, ensuring quality journalism? Giving the times, this would be a really good and difficult bet. But the passion of its director make us hopeful…

Good luck!