Why Vox.com isn't living up to the hype, explained

For all the talk about reinventing the wheel, they say, Vox has yet to live up to the lofty expectations that were set by its proprietor. Some argue that, far from a radical reinvention of journalism, it’s closer to a redeployment of the old models: three parts Wonkblog — the blog he had at The Post, which explained current events and policy debates through charts and data — and one part Wikipedia, with “explainers” on big issues like ISIS and the Ebola outbreak…

Nonetheless, old-media veterans who felt insulted by Klein and Silver’s broadsides have taken solace — and a bit of schadenfreude — in the fact that Vox, FiveThirtyEight and other new sites have, to date, posed little threat to their own organizations.

“The challenge for Vox (one it shares with FiveThirtyEight and The Upshot, two other startups run by journalists I admire) is definitional,” said Bill Keller, the former New York Times executive editor who now edits The Marshall Project, a non-profit journalism venture. “I know why I pay attention to NYTimes.com (for news and opinion) or SB Nation (sports) or POLITICO (politics). Vox and 538 and the Upshot are not about subjects, they’re about ways of looking at subjects. The nature of their appeal is not so obvious. So they have to figure out the right combination of social-media lures and brand appeal to grow an audience.”

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