Ezra Klein's Vox Launches Explainer News Site | Adweek Ezra Klein's Vox Launches Explainer News Site | Adweek
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Vox Launches Explainer News Site

‘Understand the news’ one flash card at a time

Vox, the news media enterprise formerly known as the ominous Project X, is finally here.

The Ezra Klein-led venture officially launched late Sunday night, promising to give readers a better way to “understand the news.”

Klein explained to the New York Times that his former employer, the Washington Post, lacked the technology to be able to bring stories to the next level. In his belief, the company was mired in the routine of reporting day-to-day events, which came through in its publishing platform. There was no way to update stories to reflect additional developments.

“The biggest source of waste is everything the journalist has written before today,” Klein explained.

Vox is attempting to change that by having updated stories that will be an authority for a certain subject. In addition to traditional news stories, the site is using so-called Vox Cards, explainer slides that break down difficult concepts into manageable chunks. This dissection of hot topics has already drawn comparisons to Wikipedia for the news community. 

For example, the team tackled the Affordable Healthcare Act, better known as Obamacare. 

They also tried to elucidate on the concept of the Easter egg, a tongue-in-cheek nod to the tech crowd. (Use the Konami code to access the secret page.)

The site isn’t in its full iteration. There’s no way to comment on most articles, no menu bar, no graphic data charts—plus there are very few of the lauded card stacks, the editors themselves noted. But, they launched now because they believe that the project will always be a “work in progress,” so delaying the process a few days or months wouldn’t make a difference.

“That's not because community or navigation or graphics or context aren't important to us,” Vox editors wrote in a blog post. “It's because they're important enough to us that we don't want to do them badly. We’re working on them and when we feel comfortable that we're delivering a certain level of quality, we’ll release our ideas into the wild and test, refine, and improve them.”

Though reviews have been mostly positive, many point out that it’s still unclear whether or not Vox will be able to make a marked impact in the digital news space.

Vox is owned by Vox Media, and was sponsored by GE and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation during its launch.

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