The Ruinous Sameness of Kinja and Medium Websites

Earlier this year, Univision announced that the Onion, A.V. Club, and Clickhole would be moving to the Kinja CMS that they acquired along with Gizmodo Media Group. The Root also migrated to Kinja, as was Fusion, rebranded as Splinter. Today, the A.V. Club launched their new Kinja site.

This reminds me a little of the mass migration to Medium of a few notable publications last year. Kinja and Medium each have such uniquely-branded platforms that it makes it very difficult for me to remember which website I saw an article on — Gizmodo or Jezebel, Monday Note or any old Medium account. They all just sort of blur together on their respective platforms. That’s not to say the websites are ugly, per se, but they are generic, drab, and unidentifiable.

Change is afoot on the Medium side of things. Earlier this year, Film School Rejects and Pacific Standard moved away from the platform; this month, the Awl announced that they went back to WordPress with their old custom theme. The Ringer and Backchannel also left Medium. Once again, I can tell those sites apart from each other.

All of this is to say that I hope Clickhole and the Onion don’t look like Deadspin when they launch on Kinja. They’re very different websites, and their design should articulate that. I think the Onion would be markedly less funny if it didn’t look like a hard news website, and giving it the generic Kinja treatment would be a bleak milestone for one of the most consistently brilliant places on the web.