Medium’s Curation Guidelines: everything writers need to know

Updated: May 15, 2019

Our editorial curation team reviews thousands of stories every day. We have over 35 curators with a diverse set of interests and experiences. Some come from writing and editing backgrounds, while others have specific expertise in fields that are popular on Medium.

The curators look for quality stories on Medium. When they select a story, they then add it to topics, which makes those stories eligible for personalized distribution and promotion across Medium — on the homepage, on topic pages, in our app, in our Daily Digest newsletter, and in other emails. For example, a curated story about the ethical implications of machine learning could be distributed in the Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Philosophy topics, reaching the readers who follow or have shown interest in those topics while reading on Medium. (More than 95 million unique readers visit Medium each month.)

Curators use the editorial standards listed below as well as their own assessment of quality to determine whether to recommend a story to readers. Curators are looking for stories that are insightful, considered, and well-written. Among the kinds of stories they select are pieces with a strong narrative, pieces that convey useful and/or well-researched information, and articles with a nuanced point of view. The writing should be polished and free of errors.

Here are some things our curators are looking for:

  • Headlines: Write a clear and descriptive title and subtitle for your story. Headlines should accurately reflect what your story is about — please avoid profanity, misleading “clickbait” phrasing, and using all-caps. (And if you really want to get into it: Standard headline styling is title case for the headline and sentence case for the subtitle. This isn’t required but is ideal.)
  • Proofreading: Avoid major typos, errors, or formatting quirks in your story so readers can focus on the piece itself.
  • Images: Ideally, you will include a featured image with your story. It appears when we preview your story for readers on our homepage or your profile. It should be an image that you have the rights to use. Free-use resources like Pexels, Pixabay, Unsplash, and the Gender Spectrum Collection are great for sourcing Creative Commons-licensed images.
  • Citations: Include links to facts (especially in the areas of science, medicine, health, statistics, etc.), quotations, and excerpts to their sources.
  • Profile: Your profile on Medium helps readers know more about you and your expertise, so they can understand the perspective of your story even better. Edit your profile to include a clear picture of yourself, your full name, and a bio that describes your credentials.

Here are some things  that would disqualify your story from being curated:

  • Ads and content marketing: Medium is ad-free. You may not include advertising for third-party products, services, or brands. (This includes stories whose predominant purpose is gaining attention for a brand.) Medium does not permit images or text that indicate brand sponsorship, undisclosed affiliate links, and sponsored stories, and it includes any ad-like content added to your piece by publications.
  • Requests for claps or donations: Do not include requests for donations or other links or embeds that exist for the purpose of capturing user information or soliciting money. (Mailing lists are permitted.) Please do not ask readers to clap at the end of your story — either in text or an image that shows them how to clap.
  • Copyright violations: You must have the rights or permission to use all the words and images in your story. (If not, there must be a strong case that you are using it lawfully under fair use rules.) This includes all copyrighted writing, as well as professional photography from services such as Getty Images, Associated Press, or Reuters. If you have permission or a license to use copyrighted material, state it in the story body or image caption. Curators will not select stories with copyrighted material otherwise.
  • Content violations: We will not distribute stories that breach our rules, including stories that:
    • Advocate or promote intolerance or prejudice against individuals or groups, including the use of scientific or pseudoscientific claims to pathologize, dehumanize, or disempower others.
    • Glorify, celebrate, downplay, or trivialize violence, suffering, abuse, or deaths.
    • Exist mainly to target, shame, intimidate, or harass identified, identifiable, or anonymous people.
    • Dox someone, including by exposing personal information or aggregating of public information.
    • Consist of unsubstantiated, unverified, or misleading claims and reporting.
    • Have been previously published on Medium.
    • Include undisclosed affiliate links.
  • Serialization: Stories that are split into multiple posts are unlikely to be curated unless each post works on its own without additional context.
  • Stories about Medium: We don’t curate stories about Medium.
  • English language: At this time, we are only able to review English-language stories for curation.

The guidelines above can be considered a bare minimum — curators are looking for stories that surpass this minimum. Your story might not be curated even if it has not been disqualified by any of these criteria. Reasons for this include curators' individual quality judgment and a writer's past curation acceptance. (There is no "best time to publish." Posts are not eliminated from review because of publish time.) Quality is inherently subjective, and we’re constantly working to improve our consistency. We conduct regular quality assessments of our curators’ work for this reason.

Currently, we are not able to provide feedback about why a story was not curated. Stories that are not selected are still hosted on Medium and can be shared via direct links, and your followers can find them in “New from your network.”

The statements, views, and opinions contained in curated stories are those of the authors and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect the opinions of, Medium or its employees.

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