The Personalities Behind the Latest News Websites—An Explainer

Vox, The Intercept, FiveThirtyEight

'Tis the season for the personality-driven news site—and little wonder. A recent eMarketer study revealed that adults last year spent more time with digital media than TV, newspapers and magazines combined. Meanwhile, Pew Research Center reported that news sites generate $800 million to $1.2 billion per year in revenue, and total ad revenue grew 16 percent last year. While we wait to see whether they'll fly, here are some basic stats about three sites fronted by boldface names.


Figurehead Ezra Klein

Launch date April 6

What it covers General news

What it says it is Helps you “understand the news” via Vox Cards, slides that answer questions about current events

What it seems like Flash cards about politics and pop culture, especially legalizing weed

Hottest Story Remember when legalizing pot was going to send crime skyrocketing?

Twitter/Facebook followers 70,600/21,585

Type of ads Launch sponsors: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and General Electric

The Intercept

Figurehead Glenn Greenwald (plus Gawker’s John Cook and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar)

Launch Date Feb. 10

What it covers National security and intelligence

What it says it is Obsessive look into leaked NSA documents; plans to expand into “adversarial and impolite reporting” vs. narrow beats

What it seems like A lot of rabble-rousing; infrequent posts<

Hottest Story How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive and Destroy Reputations<

Twitter/Facebook followers 54,300/6,470

Type of ads First Look Media has met with brands and agencies that share the yet-to-be-clearly defined mind-set of the site, in which Omidyar has invested $250 million


Figurehead Nate Silver

Launch Date March 17 (relaunched under ESPN)

What it covers Economics, science, lifestyle, sports and (of course) politics

What it says it is Data trumps all; boils stories down to cold, hard stats; detailed infographics, analytical videos

What it seems like Ex-NYT numbers guru has interests other than politics

Hottest Story NCAA tournament predictions

Twitter/Facebook followers 167,000/30,815

Type of ads Launch sponsor: E*Trade; looking for more ad partners