Vox (website)

Type of site
News and opinion website
Available in English
Owner Vox Media
Website www.vox.com
Alexa rank 1,114 (as of September 2018)[1]
Commercial Yes
Registration Optional
Launched April 6, 2014 (2014-04-06)
Current status Active

Vox is an American news and opinion website owned by Vox Media. The website was founded in 2014 by Melissa Bell, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. Noted for its concept of explanatory journalism,[2][3][4] Vox takes a liberal-leaning editorial stance.[5]


Ezra Klein left The Washington Post in January 2014 for a position with Vox Media, the publishers of the sports website SB Nation, technology website The Verge, and video gaming website Polygon.[6] The New York Times described Vox Media as "a technology company that produces media" rather than its inverse, associated with "Old Media".[6] Klein expected to "improve the technology of news" and build an online platform better equipped for making news understandable.[6] The new site's 20-person staff was chosen for their expertise in topic areas and included Slate's Matthew Yglesias, Melissa Bell, and Klein's colleagues from The Washington Post.[6][7]

Vox launched in early April 2014 with Klein as its editor-in-chief.[8] His opening editorial essay, "How politics makes us stupid", explained his distress about political polarization in the context of Yale Law School professor Dan Kahan's theories on how people protect themselves from information that conflicts with their core beliefs.[9]

In June 2016, Vox suspended contributor Emmett Rensin for a series of tweets calling for anti-Trump riots, including one on June 3, 2016 that urged, "If Trump comes to your town, start a riot." The tweets drew attention after violent anti-Trump protests took place in San Jose, California on the day of Rensin's tweet.[10][11][12][13] Elizabeth Plank was hired in 2016 as a political correspondent.[14]

In September 2017, Vox announced that Ezra Klein would be taking a new role as editor-at-large, and that Klein's deputy, Lauren Williams, would be named editor-in-chief.[15]


Vox's mission is to "explain the news", meaning it strives to make sure its readers "understand what just happened," by providing "contextual information that traditional news stories aren't designed to carry."[16] In order to reuse work from authors prior to the relaunch in 2014, Vox creates "card stacks" in bright "canary yellow" that provide context and define terms within an article. The cards are perpetually maintained as a form of "wiki page written by one person with a little attitude".[17] As an example, a card about the term "insurance exchange" may be reused on stories about the Affordable Care Act.[17]

The site uses Vox Media's Chorus content management system, which enables journalists to easily create articles with complex visual effects and transitions, such as photos that change as the reader scrolls.[17] Vox Media's properties target educated households with six-figure incomes and a head of house less than 35 years old.[17]

Editorial stance

Vox takes an liberal-leaning editorial stance.[5] New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, writing in 2016, described Vox as "mostly liberal".[18]


Vox has a YouTube channel by the same name where they have regularly posted videos on news and informational subjects since 2014.[19] These videos are accompanied by an article on their website. The themes covered in the videos are usually similar to the themes covered in the regular, written articles on the website. The channel has over 4.6 million subscribers and over one billion views as of late August 2018.[19]

Content surrounds both current affairs, timeline of certain events, and interesting facts.[20] In May 2018, Vox partnered with Netflix to release a weekly TV show called Explained.[21]


Vox distributes six podcasts, all hosted by Vox staff:[22]

  • The Weeds is a twice-weekly roundtable podcast, hosted by Klein, Yglesias, and healthcare policy correspondent Sarah Kliff, focusing on U.S. national news with a focus on the fine details of public policy.[22][23]
  • The Ezra Klein Show is a weekly interview podcast in which Klein interviews guests in politics and media.[24]
  • I Think You're Interesting is a weekly interview podcast about the arts, entertainment, and pop culture, hosted by Vox's "critic at large" Todd VanDerWerff.[22][25]
  • Worldly is a weekly roundtable podcast focusing on U.S. foreign policy and international affairs, hosted by Vox foreign-and-security-policy writers Jennifer Williams, Zach Beauchamp, and Alex Ward; Yochi Dreazen also previously hosted.[22][26]
  • The Impact is a weekly narrative podcast hosted by Kliff investigating the effects of policy decisions in practice.[27]
  • Today, Explained is a daily podcast, hosted by Sean Ramaswaram, providing short explanations of items in the news.[22][28]


In March 2014, before it had officially launched, Vox was criticized by conservative media commentators, including Erick Erickson, for a video it had published.[29]

The website's launch received significant media attention.[30] Websites noted that the launch came around the same time as other data and explainer websites like FiveThirtyEight and the New York Times' The Upshot.[31][32] Vox was described as using clickbait-style headlines to enhance shareability and to act as a "Wikipedia for ongoing news stories."[30]

Shortly after it launched, conservative writer David Harsanyi criticized the site's concept of "explanatory journalism" in an article in The Federalist titled "How Vox makes us stupid", arguing that the website selectively chose facts, and that "explanatory journalism" inherently leaves out opposing viewpoints and different perspectives.[33] Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry at The Week argued that the website produced "partisan commentary in question-and-answer disguise" and criticized the site for having a "starting lineup [that] was mostly made up of ideological liberals."[34] The Week's Ryu Spaeth described the site's operations as, "It essentially takes the news (in other words, what is happening in the world at any given moment in time) and frames it in a way that appeals to its young, liberal audience."[35]

The Economist, commenting on Klein's launching essay "How politics makes us stupid", said the website was "bright and promising" and the premise behind the site was "profoundly honourable", and positively compared the site's mission to John Keats's negative capability.[9]

The New York Times's David Carr associated Klein's exit for Vox with other "big-name journalists" leaving newspapers for digital start-ups, such as Walter Mossberg and Kara Swisher (Re/code), David Pogue, and Nate Silver.[6]

In December 2014, the website Deadspin wrote a post listing each time Vox ran a correction for a factual error in an article.[36] In an opinion piece in The Washington Times, Christopher J. Harper criticized the site for numerous reporting mistakes.[37]

In 2015, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry presented Julia Belluz the Robert B. Balles Prize for Critical Thinking for her work on Vox. "We need more people in the media doing what Julia Bellux does ...".[38]


In June 2015, Vox had 54.1 million unique visitors, of which 41% were between the ages of 18 and 34, according to comScore Inc.[39]

In a 2017 Nieman Lab interview, Ezra Klein stated of Vox's audience: "We watch our audience data pretty closely, and our audience data does not show or suggest to us that we are overwhelmingly read on one side or the other of the political sphere, which is good...And overall our audience leans a bit left, but it doesn’t lean overwhelmingly so."[40]


  1. "Vox.com Site Overview". Alexa Internet. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  2. James Ball (April 22, 2014). "The Upshot, Vox and FiveThirtyEight: data journalism's golden age, or TMI?". theguardian.com. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  3. Natalie Burg (April 23, 2014). "A Brief History of Explanatory Journalism". contently.com. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  4. Thomas E. Mann (February 29, 2016). "Explanatory journalism: A tool in the war against polarization and dysfunction". brookings.edu. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  5. 1 2 Philip Bump, The political moderate is dead. Long live the moderate., New York Times (July 11, 2014).
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 Carr, David (January 26, 2014). "Ezra Klein Is Joining Vox Media as Web Journalism Asserts Itself". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 27, 2014. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  7. Vox.com is going to be a great test of Ezra Klein’s critique of journalism, Columbia Journalism Review (April 7, 2014).
  8. "Ezra Klein Editor-in-Chief". vox.com. Vox Media. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  9. 1 2 "Ezra Klein's strangled Vox". The Economist. April 11, 2014. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  10. Byers, Dylan (June 3, 2016). "Vox suspends editor for encouraging riots at Donald Trump rallies". CNN. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  11. Halper, Evan (June 3, 2016). "Vox suspends editor who called for anti-Trump riots". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  12. Emmett Rensin [emmettrensin] (June 2, 2016). "Advice: If Trump comes to your town, start a riot" (Twitter post). Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  13. Wemple, Eric (June 3, 2016). "What will a suspension do for a Vox editor who urged anti-Trump riots?". Washington Post. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  14. "Vox Snags Mic's Elizabeth Plank for Election Coverage". The Hollywood Reporter. 2016-03-01. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  15. Stelter, Brian. "Lauren Williams named editor in chief of Vox; Ezra Klein to be editor at large". CNN Money. Retrieved 2017-09-29.
  16. Klein, Ezra; Bell, Melissa; Yglesias, Matt (March 9, 2014). "Nine questions about Vox". Vox. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  17. 1 2 3 4 Kaufman, Leslie (April 6, 2014). "Vox Takes Melding of Journalism and Technology to a New Level". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 27, 2014. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  18. Ross Douthat, The Bill Clinton Question, New York Times (January 17, 2016).
  19. 1 2 "Vox Channel About Page". youtube.com. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  20. "Vox Channel Home Page". youtube.com. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  21. "Why Vox's Netflix show 'Explained' is different from Vox's YouTube videos, explained (by Ezra Klein)". Recode. Retrieved 2018-08-29.
  22. 1 2 3 4 5 "Podcasts". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  23. "The Weeds". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  24. "The Ezra Klein Show". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  25. "I Think You're Interesting". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  26. "Worldly". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  27. "The Impact". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  28. "Today, Explained". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  29. Cosman, Ben. "Ezra Klein's Vox Is Already Being Labeled 'Left-Wing Propaganda' by Conservatives". The Atlantic. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  30. 1 2 "How Vox is going to make its way to the top". The Daily Dot. April 7, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  31. "The Upshot, Vox and FiveThirtyEight: data journalism's golden age, or TMI?". The Guardian. April 22, 2014. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  32. "Ezra Klein launches news site Vox.com". USA TODAY. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  33. Politics. "How Vox makes us stupid". Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  34. "Vox, derp, and the intellectual stagnation of the left". The Week. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  35. Ryu Spaeth (July 21, 2015). "The Gawker meltdown and the Vox-ification of the news media". Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  36. Draper, Kevin. "46 Times Vox Totally Fucked Up a Story". The Concourse. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  37. Harper, Christopher (January 7, 2015). "Vox news website needs to take serious look at how it 'reinvents' journalism". The Washingtion Times. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  38. Fidalgo, Paul (2016). "CSI's Balles Prize in Critical Thinking Awarded to Julia Belluz of Vox.com". Skeptical Inquirer. 40 (5): 6.
  39. Alpert, Lukas I. Comcast Invests $200 Million in Vox Media. The Wall Street Journal. August 12, 2015. Accessed on 2016-06-26.
  40. "Ezra Klein hopes Vox can change the fact that "people who are more into the news read the news more"". Nieman Lab. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
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