New Media Influencers on Rebranding, Expansion and ‘Obsessions’ Logo“Voice, perspective and messages framed so they resonate with younger readers have all become more important in media now. That means having our ears to the ground in politics and entertainment, then packaging topics accordingly”, said Jake Horowitz, founder and editor of Mic (formerly PolicyMic).

Mic is among a growing number of media brands that launched or renamed recently, like re/code (formerly AllThingsD), and Quartz. Editors from these outlets appeared on a PCNY panel on Thursday to discuss their latest moves.

While these sites generally don’t use PR-related pitches, that may change over time. Given their global focus, one could equate landing a story in these outlets to the U.S. soccer team’s World Cup game vs. Ghana: challenging but not impossible.

Here’s a brief rundown on each outlet and their approach.

Vox Media launched a few months ago. Vox adds context to news, according to co-founder Melissa Bell. “Many sites report news, but readers need more background. We use technology to surface the reporting history”, she said. One method: “card stacks” that create information databases for readers on issues like Obama Care.

Vox Media is comprised of seven brands and Bell said they also offer visually appealing sponsored advertiser content, aka their “8th vertical”. As for content from PR and other outside sources: “One day we want a section of the site that’s open to the community, and that’s in the plan down the line”.


Atlantic Media launched Quartz in 2012, said senior editor Zach Seward. “We cover global business news, so we’re in space similar to The Economist. Like the U.K.-based brand, Quartz is worldly, not U.S.-centric. ‘Obsessions’ are topics we care most about. We don’t presume to be comprehensive, and only focus on stories where we have something to add”.

Quartz runs sponsored content that’s separate from editorial, Seward said. They accept limited outside contributions that provide category-related information, not company-focused content. Since data is a site specialty, raw data on a compelling topic would be welcome.


“When we launched PolicyMic, no site was capturing issues that matter to a younger generation”, said Horowitz. Mic is a news site that fills that need for readers aged 18-35 who want more than “fluffy focus.”

The brand is expanding their topic areas to include science, technology, design and books. “We plan to cover those with the same sensibility”, Horowitz added.


Launched earlier this year, re/code covers “media, technology and their intersection, and now we have more financial resources to expand”, said senior media editor Peter Kafka.”We’ll continue doing what’s worked for us before as AllThingsD”, he added. The brand often breaks big news, like high-level tech execs’ hiring and departures.

Re/code is expanding into new categories and hiring staff in more cities. “Now we’re deliberately trying to offer more cultural pieces”, Kafka said. The brand is also known for tech events. Following a recent L.A. conference, a fall New York media conference is in the works.

(Image courtesy of Mic)