The Campaign Spot

Meet ‘Vox’! No, the Other One. No, the Other Other One.

Also from today’s Jolt:

Meet ‘Vox’ — Well, One of Them, Anyway

Sunday night, the Twitterverse was abuzz, after catching its first glimpse of Vox:

Wait, no, that’s not it. That’s Vox vodka. No, we got our first glimpse of Vox.

No, no, that’s the dirty book that Monica Lewinsky gave to Bill Clinton as a gift. I said, “Vox.”

Nope, that’s a Vox guitar amplifier. No, different Vox.

No. That’s Sarah McLaughlin’s debut single. I said the new Vox.

No, that’s from a Bioshock video game.

Ezra Klein unveils “Vox Media.” Which is quite different from, but destined to be mixed up with, Fox News.

Klein begins:

“I remember, beginning to follow the news, I remember the feeling of anxiety around opening a new article and knowing I was about to feel stupid, I was about to feel like I was outside the club. This is a real problem!”

Is it? Do you find yourself feeling like that a lot? Do you feel anxiety about opening a new news article?

Mollie Hemingway: “Not only have I never experienced anxiety upon reading articles, didn’t occur to me that anyone else would either. Am I missing something?”

Sonny Bunch: “Well, I was going to read this thing but then I felt like it might make me feel bad about myself so I chose not to.”

Matt Yglesias — remember him? — is the executive editor of this little endeavor, and he helpfully explains what will make this assembly of the Juicebox Mafia different from all the previous versions:

“Digital articles, at least in principle, last forever as web archives. That’s something that some people are taking advantage of today, but we don’t think that people are really writing articles with that in mind.”

[long silence]

Did you get that?

So everything is going to be literary nonfiction? Everything that will appear on the site is meant to be useful and worthy of reading five to ten to twenty years from now? You’re going to cover current events and breaking news in a way that will make every article a timeless classic, worthy of being bound in leather books and kept in the library?

On my bookshelf you’ll find collections of columns of Michael Kelly, Daniel Pearl, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, William F. Buckley, and a few others. If you’ll permit me to be the skunk at the garden party… not every column by even the greatest writers stands the tests of time. Sometimes it’s only of interest as a snapshot of the moment, or a perspective of how an issue appeared at that time. Remember Buckley and Ronald Reagan vehemently, but respectfully, disagreeing about the Panama Canal Treaty? While it’s easy to understand why the fate of the Panama Canal would be considered a top-tier foreign-policy debate at that moment; in retrospect, it turned out to be one of the less consequential issues in foreign policy going on in the late 1970s. Certainly the Iranian Revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan presented more pressing, and lingering, crises within a year or two.

Yglesias goes on,

“Success, in somewhat grandiose terms, is that we want to create the single greatest resource available for people to understand the issues that are in the news.”

That’s his somewhat grandiose definition of success for the site. The fully grandiose definition of success is that Vox Media becomes the basis of a new worldwide religion that unites humanity under its teachings.

Yeah, good luck with that.

Melissa Bell adds, “I can’t wait to see if what we think people need is actually what they actually need. If it’s not, we’ll change it.”

Wow, can you believe Amazon/Washington Post CEO Jeff Bezos passed on a pitch like that?

She concludes, “We want to move fast.”

And yet somehow make every article a piece that can stand the test of time for forever!

Anybody getting a Talk magazine vibe from this? Or Brill’s Content? Or even George magazine?


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