Vox Media on Monday is launching a redesign of Racked, the company’s fashion and shopping site, to try and grow its audience beyond young women while also rethinking its distribution strategy with a renewed focus on email newsletters and Facebook video.
“We’re training our team — our reporters, our editors, and our video team — everyone who is bringing their ideas to Racked, encouraging them to think in a platform-agnostic way,” Racked editor-in-chief Britt Aboutaleb said. “What is the story you want to tell and then from there what is the best way to tell that story? That might mean a 2,000-word feature, it might mean a video, it might mean a newsletter-first feature.”
Racked’s refresh comes as Vox Media as a whole is looking to expand how it approaches off-platform and distributed publishing. The Verge, earlier this month, refreshed its website and the graphic identity it uses Continue reading "How Racked redesigned its site with distributed platforms in mind"
Ensconced within the larger Bloomberg empire, Bloomberg’s editorial operations are in an enviably comfortable position.
“If you look at our approach at how we play on platforms that we don’t own, compared to other media companies, you’ll see we do it a little differently, because we’re part of a bigger exceedingly well-capitalized, healthy — for lack of a better term — technology company,” Michael Shane, Bloomberg Media’s newly appointed global head of digital innovation, told me. “So we aren’t subject to the stormy winds of the rest of the media industry.”
Shane was previously managing editor for Bloomberg digital and before that director of operations at The Verge, which he joined shortly after its launch — and before that, a professional clarinetist. He was especially confident in the new readership he felt Bloomberg was poised to attract globally, and the monetization opportunities that come from building a Continue reading "Bloomberg’s new global chief of digital innovation on the company’s careful hunt for new audiences"
In a stunning admission of a serious conflict of interest, the editor-in-chief from tech site The Verge revealed today that one of their deputy editors was pulling double-duty working for Apple for a whole two months.
And for those two months, no one at Apple had any idea.
Verge EIC Nilay Patel posted a note online today in response to questions about Ziegler’s recent absence from the site:
Chris began working for Apple in July, but didn’t tell anyone at The Verge that he’d taken a new job until we discovered and verified his dual-employment in early September. Chris continued actively working at The Verge in July, but was not in contact with us through most of August and into September. During that period, in the dark and concerned for Chris, we made every effort to contact him and to offer him help if needed. We ultimately terminated his employment Continue reading "Deputy Editor for Tech Site Was Simultaneously Working for Apple for 2 Months"
When Hillary Clinton takes the stage in Philadelphia tonight to accept the Democratic nomination for president, it will be the peak of a lifetime spent in politics. And over that lifetime, she’s been the subject of an almost incalculable amount of media coverage.
When Vox.com wanted to add to that mountain with a Clinton interview and profile by editor-in-chief Ezra Klein, it wanted to build something different — something that felt more digitally native than straightforward longform.
The Clinton project became a digital, multi-platform package. Optimized for Facebook Instant Articles, the 6,300-word-plus piece, complete with video and archival photographs, loads in under a second flat. Alongside the essay, Vox published the full transcript of the 41-minute interview complete with annotations and visualized data. Going beyond the website component, the interview was filmed and annotated for YouTube, allowing users to search and watch exactly what they want Hillary to Continue reading "How Vox Media’s new Storytelling Studio thinks of stories as products"
Vox Media announced a bunch of new partnerships Wednesday (see: corporate synergy), including a new partnership between SB Nation and Telemundo to create “the first-ever mobile, bilingual sports property to reach Hispanic millennial sports fans,” and an expanded partnership with Snapchat to include content from all eight Vox Media brands on its Discover channel. Vox also said it would be building out a “Snapchat Studio” focus on creating content from sites like The Verge and Racked, in addition to Vox.com.
Vox.com launched on Snapchat Discover in November, and early on hired dedicated Snapchat producers to craft stories for the platform. Vox Media also hired Awl network co-founder Choire Sicha as director of partner platforms in February, specifically to help refine the company’s strategies when it comes to dealing with places like Snapchat and Facebook and Google.
Other partnerships announced today include ones between SB Nation and Continue reading "Vox Media creates a Snapchat Studio, and SB Nation is going bilingual with the help of Telemundo"
Is Facebook the new RSS? Vox Media’s tech site The Verge is trying something that might answer that question: It’s launching a gadget “blog,” Circuit Breaker, that will live primarily as a Facebook page, with posts appearing in the Instant Articles format.
The New York Times’ John Herrman, who first reported the news, wrote:
Circuit Breaker will be edited by Paul Miller, a former employee of The Verge who is returning to the company. Mr. Miller said the new page would reach for a “core audience” of hard-core gadget fans. The Verge offers some popular gadget coverage, but Mr. Miller said many of those gadget fans “feel neglected when we’re talking about Netflix” and technology’s role in the broader culture.
The page will also steer clear of covering the business of tech, leaving industry stories to The Verge or Recode, the tech news site founded by Continue reading "The Verge launches Circuit Breaker, a gadget blog-as-Facebook page"
After years of anticipation and waiting, the Oculus Rift VR headset is finally here. Facebook-owned Oculus began shipping pre-ordered headsets today. The Rift retails for $599 — plus you need a special high-powered PC to run the VR headset. (Sorry Mac owners.) If you want to order a Rift today, it won’t ship until July.
The first reviews of the consumer version of the Rift were also published today, and there was a near consensus: The Rift is a solid first step into mainstream VR, but the computing power necessary to use it along with its prohibitive price will limit its adoption.
The benefit of building a brand that audiences recognize will, in the end, allow us to continue to build a strong revenue model and a strong connection to an audience. If they see us on Snapchat and Snapchat has a very large audience, then they get to know and trust Vox and see it as a source that they care about. If 10 percent of that audience finds us on YouTube, five percent finds us on Facebook, and two percent finds us on Twitter, that’s great. There’s a revenue opportunity with Snapchat, and we can use that to support the journalism that we’re doing elsewhere. You have to think about your brand as an interconnected ethos that should exist in multiple places.
Walt Disney had an interesting idea about how his brands supported each other. The theme parks came from the movies; the movies came from his animations. The merchandise Continue reading "From Nieman Reports: Melissa Bell of Vox Media on the online publisher’s embrace of Snapchat, its spirit of collaboration, and more"
For a short period at the end of 2014, it appeared that publishers had reached a breaking point in their ongoing struggle with reader comments. Within a few weeks of each other, Recode, Mic, The Week, and Reuters all announced that they were closing down their comment sections. They joined the ranks of other outlets, including The Chicago Sun-Times and Popular Science, that abandoned the practice in favor of letting users discuss stories on social channels instead.
Many news organizations have had comments sections for as long as they’ve been online. For just as long, many have agonized over the value of the conversations that rage in the space below a story. There’s plenty of debate over the issue, as newsrooms struggle with moderation,
Making a beautiful app for news is great; making a beautiful reusable app for news is better. At least that’s the thinking behind a new project released by Vox Media today: Autotune is a system meant to simplify the creation and duplication of things like data visualizations, graphics, or games.
Autotune was designed by members of the Vox Media product team to cut down on the repetitive work of taking one project — say, a an image slider — and making it easy to use elsewhere. It’s “a centralized management system for your charts, graphics, quizzes and other tools, brought to you by the Editorial Products team at Vox Media,” according to the project’s GitHub page. And, yes, that means Autotune is open source.
The launch of the Apple Watch is the type of story that The Verge was built for — obsessive tunneling deep into the minutiae of the latest gadget that promises to reshape the world. You can call it their Super Bowl or their Oscars, but The Verge has major product releases down to a science: Establish a team on the ground to take on the rigors of liveblogging, have news editors and writers standing by to spin out individual stories, add in hands-on videos, and recap the proceedings to let readers grab what they need to know.
This is now muscle memory across an entire newsroom, even for a site that’s only been around four years. Covering technology should come easy for a site that was created by a group of editors who jumped ship from Engadget; following the movements of Apple and Google, or tracing the latest pronouncements from Elon Musk, are what they’re built for.
But tech writing is a crowded field. Recode was spun away from Dow Jones, which responded by bulking up the tech team at The Wall Street Journal. Business Insider is building a tech site of its own. BuzzFeed is bulking up its San Francisco operations. And that’s just a few of the bigger players; add in a seemingly infinite number of smaller sites, plus plenty non-technology sites moving resources into the field.
What it means is that on a day like the Apple Watch release, there are no shortage of options for readers to get their fix. And even as The Verge grows — they reached 25 million monthly unique visitors in February — the site needs to find a way to stand out.
Which would explain the Super Bowl commercial. Even if it only aired in Helena, Montana, the the 30-second spot tells a lot about the site’s aims for 2015. “We want to use technology as a way to define pop culture, in the way Rolling Stone used music and Wired used the early Internet,” Verge editor Nilay Patel told me.
What The Verge has been doing the past six months, and will be doing for the next six, is turning itself into a site that covers pop culture, science, and even cars with the same voice they’ve trained on the world of technology. “What we’ve figure out is it’s much more than a technology site,” said Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff. “Though
When Sam Sheffer, The Verge’s social media editor, launched the site’s Snapchat account at the end of July last year, he meant it to be a small-scale experiment.
“I only promoted it on my personal Twitter account,” Sheffer told me. “I didn’t make it an official thing that it was our account, I just told my followers, ‘Hey guys, I’m going to be doing this thing. Follow if you want to.’”
trying something new for @verge — add us on snapchat ‘therealverge’ :) this should be fun
— Sam Sheffer (@samsheffer) July 30, 2014
But soon the audience started growing; today, The Verge’s snaps each get about 10,000 views. The Verge, like many news organizations that are active on Snapchat, still views it as an experiment, trying out new ways to use the format — from covering live events like the NBA All-Star Game or the Oscars to a regular series where Sheffer has Verge staffers explain what’s on their desks.
Snapchat’s popularity is booming. Last year, it said that its users sent more than 700 million snaps daily; the company is reportedly in a new funding round that would value the company at $19 billion.
Snapchat’s potential for news outlets became more clear last month with the launch of Snapchat Discover, which lets a small number of publishers reach new younger audiences with well-produced stories that are made specifically for the platform and utilize slick graphics and video. No one is releasing hard numbers yet, but the buzz is they’re amazing. (“But from speaking to people at several other news organizations, I can tell you secondhand that the numbers, at least for the initial launch period, were enormous. We’re talking millions of views per day, per publisher.”)
Continue reading "Snapchat stories: Here’s how 6 news orgs are thinking about the chat app"