Vox Media: tech company first, publisher second

“Too much on the internet mimicks what we’ve done in print for hundreds of years” said Lockhart Steele, Editorial Director, Vox Media at DME15 this morning, with a nod to their Editor-in-Chief and ex-Washington Post man Ezra Klein. That’s why Vox is doing things very differently.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | April 20, 2015

Steele knows better than most having founded the sites EaterRacked and curbed before his company was bought by Vox.

In order to “create the smartest content for the smartest consumers”, Vox have developed a new set of tools to improve both the back- and the front-end experience. This ranges from their CMS (or has Steele puts it, “more than a CMS”), Chorus, to their innovative Card Stacks reading experience.

Like many tech companies they start with the talent. A good example is Nilay Patel, a copyright lawyer who started blogging about tech and now editor-in-chief at the Verge.  As Steele says, he “just started doing what he wanted to do”

Once you have the editorial brilliance, you need to mix it with top developer expertise. At Vox they call it “hacker culture meets storytelling”. Sarah Kliff, for example, had written hundreds of articles about Obamacare, but how could they collect this knowledge together? Sitting together with their developers, they built Card Stacks – a place where  readers can fully inform themselves about a story, starting from the basic questions.
This approach is most striking in their approach to the Obama interview. Seating the President in a unique set, they were able to overlay infographics over the video to add context to his spoken remarks. Video will continue to be core to Vox as they develop a new CMS product called Anthem.

They see this as their competitive advantage. They may even licence their current CMS to other publishers. And that’s why they are proud to be a tech company that is also a publisher.

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