Ezra Klein’s Vox.com Aims to Make Readers Like the ‘Vegetables’ of Journalism


Two months ago Ezra Klein left the Washington Post to launch a new and improved media venture at Vox Media, the home of several sites including The Verge and Curbed. On Sunday night, Klein revealed that the site previously referred to as "Project X" will be known as Vox.com. A short video posted on the site explained that the idea is to make the "vegetables" or "spinach" of the news world – those articles we should read but don't – more palatable. "It's a terrible attitude," says Klein. "If we can't take things that are important and meaningful in people's lives and make them interesting, that failure is 100 percent on us as writers. That is entirely our fault."

The accompanying article "Nine Questions About Vox" expands the vegetable metaphor to explain how the site will help readers better understand the news:

Vegetables can be cooked poorly. But they can also be roasted to perfection with a drizzle of olive oil and hint of sea salt. It’s our job to experiment with all kinds of preparations: Feature articles, traditional news articles, Q&As, FAQs, graphics, videos (you saw the one above, right?), visualizations, and even faux-conversations like this one. It means being willing to adopt a tone that isn’t intimidating and being honest that we’re also trying to figure this stuff out. It means developing some innovative new editorial products that let us deliver contextual information more cleanly, clearly, and regularly. Our only promise is that our goal in all cases will be to move people from curiosity to understanding.

The editors also hint at a new format they're developing to put the news in context. Matthew Yglesias, formerly of Slate, remarks, "Digital articles, at least in principle, last forever as web archives. That's something some people are taking advantage of today but we don't think that people are really writing articles with that in mind."

Vox.com doesn't offer any other information on the new technology, so we'll have to wait until it officially launches – which will happen "soon."