Vox.com’s capture of the know-it-all demographic

David V. Johnson in The Baffler:

ScreenHunter_2431 Dec. 09 17.43Future historians may well mark the date of April 6, 2014, as a watershed moment in the media’s epic bid to redefine itself in the digital age. For this was the day that Vox.com went live, heralding the golden dawn of a new journalistic epoch. Cofounded by Washington Post Wonkblog creator and liberal pundit Ezra Klein, prolific contrarian policy blogger Matt Yglesias, and former Post director of platforms Melissa Bell, Vox has not only challenged assumptions about what journalism is and how it should be done, but has altered ideas of what a digital media business can be.

In its brief history, Vox has become a model in an industry that’s moved from entrenchment to retrenchment. Vox’s rapid growth, its dream team of policy bloggers, its cachet with the White House, its ability to attract blue-chip advertisers such as Chevrolet and Campbell’s Soup, and its tech innovation have become the envy of competitors. Why? What is the secret of Vox.com and its thriving parent company

Vox Media, which, according to a report this spring in Bloomberg Technology, is profitable and valued at $1 billion? Are there applicable lessons for the dwindling segments of the media industry that still care primarily about journalism? Or, is the Vox Media success story largely the product of clever—perhaps even deceptive—marketing?

The Vox creation myth begins, suitably enough, in a mood of liberal dissatisfaction. Ezra Klein conceived Vox from a trio of frustrations he had with old media institutions like the Washington Post.

More here.