World events are increasingly convoluted and journalism needs to adapt. The US- based news organization Vox has pioneered an approach that presents complex topics in small, comprehensible segments, counteracting the escalation of debates in the process.
Back in 2014 former Washington Post journalist Ezra Klein founded Vox. Until this day it has evolved into a fantastic model for modern online-journalism with immense reach. Why?
Kleins and therefore Vox’s answers have their own way of visual storytelling, providing the reader with additional value in comparison to classical texts: context by way of continuative information. Packed into simple graphics and easily comprehensible videos. These have an unbelievable reach: 8.5 million people are subscribed to Vox, in August of 2019 33.4 million people visited their page.
But the true persuasiveness of the website and surrounding formats such as a podcast, the netflix-series “EXPLAINED” and the Youtube-Videos lies in the approach of “explanatory journalism”, and its consequent digital orientation.
Don’t explain what is happening. But why it is happening. Simultaneously one has to admit: Vox doesn’t follow an altruistic motive. But the aim of mother company Vox Media after subscribers and relevance. An economical motivation – with a public benefit nonetheless.
Vox wants to be consumed as a neutral medium and keep up with the unrelentlessly continuing flood of news from around the world – making themselves out to be simple chronists, who want to reach more users through sheer mass. This is how Vox wants to differentiate itself, by putting its focus on current topics and adapting them to the developed viewing habits of online users through an attractive, graphical conversion.
The company is especially criticized by journalists from the US, who accuse them of paying too much attention to pop culture topics, in order to increase the visits, with politics only playing the second fiddle to entertainment. Due to this, increasingly intense debates about the most visited articles have started on Twitter.
A legitimate attack, which at the same time proves, what modern online journalism might look like, in order to increase its reach.