Vox (website)

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Vox logo.svg
Vox homepage.PNG
Type of site
News and opinion website
Available inEnglish
OwnerVox Media
Founder(s)Ezra Klein, Melissa Bell, and Matthew Yglesias
EditorSwati Sharma
LaunchedApril 6, 2014; 7 years ago (2014-04-06)
Current statusActive

Vox is an American news and opinion website owned by Vox Media. The website was founded in April 2014 by Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias, and Melissa Bell, and is noted for its concept of explanatory journalism.[1] Vox's media presence also includes a YouTube channel, several podcasts, and a show presented on Netflix. Vox has been described as left-of-center[2] and progressive.[3]


Prior to founding Vox, Ezra Klein worked for The Washington Post as the head of Wonkblog, a public policy blog.[4] When Klein attempted to launch a new site using funding from the newspaper's editors, his proposal was turned down and Klein subsequently left The Washington Post for a position with Vox Media, another communications company, in January 2014.[4][5]

The New York Times' 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 (of Recode, which was later acquired by and integrated into Vox), David Pogue, and Nate Silver.[5] He described Vox Media as "a technology company that produces media" rather than its inverse, associated with "Old Media".[5] From his new position, Klein worked towards the establishing of Vox, including hiring new journalists for the site.[4] Klein expected to "improve the technology of news" and build an online platform better equipped for making news understandable.[5] 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.[5][6][7][8] Vox was launched on April 6, 2014, with Klein serving as editor-in-chief.[4][9]

Klein's 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.[10][11]

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.[12][13][14][15] Elizabeth Plank was hired in 2016 as a political correspondent,[16] and in 2017 launched her own series with Vox Media, called Divided States of Women.[17]

In September 2017, Klein published a post on Vox announcing that he was taking on a new role as editor-at-large, and that Lauren Williams, who joined Vox a few months after its founding, was the new editor-in-chief.[18][19] In late 2020, Klein, Williams, and Yglesias left the site. While Vox had been founded with prominent journalists, Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff said that their brands had mature, mainstream audiences that no longer relied on personalities.[20]

Swati Sharma was named editor-in-chief in February 2021. A managing editor of The Atlantic at the time of her appointment, she was expected to assume the position in March 2021.[21]


According to Vox's founding editors, the site seeks to explain news by providing additional contextual information not usually found in traditional news sources.[22] 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".[23] As an example, a card about the term "insurance exchange" may be reused on stories about the Affordable Care Act.[23]

Vox 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.[23] Vox Media's properties target educated households with six-figure incomes and a head of house less than 35 years old.[23]

Vox's Future Perfect, a reporting project that examines the world through philanthropy and effective altruism, is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.[24]


Vox has a YouTube channel by the same name where they have regularly posted videos on news and informational subjects since 2014.[25] 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.[26] The channel has over 10 million subscribers and over 2.6 billion views as of November 5, 2021.[25] Content surrounds both current affairs, timeline of certain events, and interesting facts.[27]

In May 2018, Vox partnered with Netflix to release a weekly TV show called Explained.[28][29]


Zack Beauchamp interviewing Michael Bennet for the Worldly podcast in 2019.

Vox distributes numerous podcasts, all hosted by Vox staff, as part of the Vox Media Podcast Network:[30][31]

  • The Weeds is a twice-weekly roundtable podcast, hosted by Yglesias and immigration correspondent Dara Lind, focusing on U.S. national news with a focus on the fine details of public policy.[31][32][33] Senior politics reporter Jane Coaston was a regular co-host before joining the New York Times.[34]
  • Vox Conversations is a weekly interview podcast in which Klein interviews guests in politics and media.[35]
  • I Think You're Interesting is a weekly interview podcast about the arts, entertainment, and pop culture, hosted by Vox's "critic at large" Emily VanDerWerff.[31][36]
  • Worldly (2017-21) was 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.[31][37]
  • The Impact is a weekly narrative podcast hosted by Kliff investigating the effects of policy decisions in practice.[38]
  • Today, Explained is a daily podcast, hosted by Sean Ramaswaram, providing short explanations of items in the news.[31][39]
  • Future Perfect is a weekly podcast, hosted by Dylan Matthews, exploring provocative ideas with the potential to radically improve the world, often discussing ideas associated with effective altruism.[40][41][42]
  • Primetime is a short-run podcast hosted by Emily VanDerWerff. Season 1 (six episodes) focused on TV's relationship with the presidency and was released on a weekly schedule.[31][43]
  • Unexplainable is a weekly science podcast hosted by Noam Hassenfeld and a panel of experts exploring unanswered questions and the ways scientists are trying to answer them.[31]
  • Land of the Giants is a weekly podcast hosted by Shirin Ghaffary and Alex Kantrowitz about Google and its dominance in the technology sector.[31]
  • Vox Quick Hits was a daily podcast consisting of short episodes covering topics in news, politics, and pop culture. Vox Quick Hits ended on September 10, 2021. [31]


In March 2014, before it had officially launched, Vox was criticized by conservative media commentators, including Erick Erickson, for a video[44] it had published arguing the U.S. public debt "isn't a problem right now".[45]

The website's launch received significant media attention.[46] 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.[47][48] Vox was described as using clickbait-style headlines to enhance shareability and to act as a "Wikipedia for ongoing news stories".[46]

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".[49] The Week's Ryu Spaeth described the site's operations as "...essentially tak[ing] the news (in other words, what is happening in the world at any given moment in time) and fram[ing] it in a way that appeals to its young, liberal audience."[50]

The Economist, commenting on Klein's launching essay "How politics makes us stupid",[10] said the website was "bright and promising" and site's premise of "more, better, and more lucidly presented information" was "profoundly honourable", and positively compared the site's mission to John Keats's negative capability.[11] In an opinion piece in The Washington Times, Christopher J. Harper criticized the site for numerous reporting mistakes.[51]

Analysis of bias[edit]

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting in 2016 published an article criticising Vox's constant use of appeal to authority argument using the generic phrase "most expert/economists" without citing reliable sources for such scientific polls.[52]

Media Bias / Fact Check analysis demonstrates that the majority of stories are pro-left and anti-right, often with emotionally loaded headlines, while at the same time Vox typically uses credible news sources.[53]

Likewise, the news aggregator AllSides noted in 2021 that Vox often frames issues as if the left perspective is the only one, it also includes subjective commentaries, blurs the line between news and editorial and seems to position its rhetoric in a partisan Democrat perspective.[54]

The organisation Capital Research Center also lists some of the criticism to Vox's neutrality, amongst them: the fact that Vox's parent company, Vox Media, has been founded and is run by individuals connected to the Democratic party; its 2016 promoting of Hillary Clinton's campaign; factual errors in the reporting of the Israel-Gaza conflict; and its condoning of left-wing violence.[55]


In 2015, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry presented Julia Belluz the Robert B. Balles Prize for Critical Thinking for her work on Vox.[56]

Original programming by Vox has been recognized by the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, which are presented by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 2017, the documentary 2016 Olympics: What Rio Doesn't Want the World to See was nominated in the "Outstanding News Special" category, Vox Pop was nominated in the "Outstanding Arts, Culture and Entertainment Report" and "Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction" categories,[57] and The Secret Life of Muslims was nominated in the "Outstanding Short Documentary" category.[58] In 2018, Borders was nominated in the "Outstanding Video Journalism: News" category,[59] and Earworm received nominations in the "Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction" and "Outstanding New Approaches: Arts, Lifestyle and Culture" categories.[60]


Vox received 8.2 million unique visitors in July 2014.[61] In August 2019 readership was estimated to be 33.4 million visitors.[62]

In a 2017 interview on Nieman Lab, Klein stated: "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. [63]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bercovici, Jeff (May 12, 2014). "Why Do So Many Journalists Hate Vox?". Forbes. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  2. ^ Schmidt, Steffen W.; Shelley, Mack C.; Bardes, Barbara A. (2018). American Government and Politics Today, Brief. Cengage Learning. p. 140. ISBN 978-1-337-67017-3.
  3. ^ The Editorial Board (July 8, 2020). "Bonfire of the Liberals". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Yu, Roger (April 7, 2014). "Ezra Klein launches news site Vox.com". USA Today. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e 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.
  6. ^ Vox.com is going to be a great test of Ezra Klein's critique of journalism, Columbia Journalism Review (April 7, 2014).
  7. ^ Klein, Ezra (January 26, 2014). "Vox is our next". The Verge.
  8. ^ Staff, Vox (April 3, 2017). "About us". Vox.
  9. ^ Hartmann, Margaret. "Understanding Ezra Klein's Newly Launched Vox.com". New York Media LLC Money. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Klein, Ezra (April 5, 2014). "How politics makes us stupid". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Ezra Klein's strangled Vox". The Economist. April 11, 2014. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  12. ^ Byers, Dylan (June 3, 2016). "Vox suspends editor for encouraging riots at Donald Trump rallies". CNN. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  13. ^ Halper, Evan (June 3, 2016). "Vox suspends editor who called for anti-Trump riots". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  14. ^ Emmett Rensin [emmettrensin] (June 2, 2016). "Advice: If Trump comes to your town, start a riot" (Twitter post). Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  15. ^ Wemple, Eric (June 3, 2016). "What will a suspension do for a Vox editor who urged anti-Trump riots?". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  16. ^ "Vox Snags Mic's Elizabeth Plank for Election Coverage". The Hollywood Reporter. March 1, 2016. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  17. ^ Barr, Jeremy (October 5, 2017). "Vox Media Launching New Video Series Focused on Women". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  18. ^ Stelter, Brian. "Lauren Williams named editor in chief of Vox; Ezra Klein to be editor at large". CNN Money. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  19. ^ Klein, Ezra. "Lauren Williams is the new editor-in-chief of Vox". Vox Media, Inc. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  20. ^ Lee, Edmund (November 20, 2020). "Ezra Klein Leaves Vox for The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  21. ^ Tracy, Marc (February 16, 2021). "Vox Finds Its Next Top Editor at The Atlantic". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  22. ^ Klein, Ezra; Bell, Melissa; Yglesias, Matt (March 9, 2014). "Nine questions about Vox". Vox. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  23. ^ a b c d 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.
  24. ^ Schwab, Tim (August 21, 2020). "Journalism's Gates keepers". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  25. ^ a b "Vox Channel About Page". youtube.com. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  26. ^ Patel, Sahil (May 15, 2017). "How YouTube latecomer Vox beat the odds and built a big channel". Digiday. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  27. ^ "Vox Channel Home Page". youtube.com. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  28. ^ "Why Vox's Netflix show 'Explained' is different from Vox's YouTube videos, explained (by Ezra Klein)". Recode. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  29. ^ Weissman, Cale Guthrie (May 23, 2018). "Vox's new Netflix show is just the start of its video ambitions". Fast Company. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  30. ^ "Vox Media Podcasts Network". podcasts.voxmedia.com. Retrieved May 17, 2021.
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Podcasts". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  32. ^ "The Weeds". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  33. ^ "Vox's The Weeds". Stitcher. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  34. ^ "Jane Coaston Named New Host of "The Argument"". The New York Times Company. November 6, 2020. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  35. ^ "The Ezra Klein Show". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  36. ^ "I Think You're Interesting". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  37. ^ "Worldly". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  38. ^ "The Impact". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  39. ^ "Today, Explained". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  40. ^ Matthews, Dylan (October 15, 2018). "Future Perfect, explained". Vox. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  41. ^ Matthews, Dylan (October 15, 2018). "How to save a stranger's life (Future Perfect Podcast Ep. 1)". Vox. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  42. ^ Matthews, Dylan (November 28, 2018). "How to pick a career that counts". Vox. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  43. ^ "Primetime". vox.com. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  44. ^ Yglesias, Matthew (March 28, 2014). "Stop freaking out about the debt". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  45. ^ Cosman, Ben. "Ezra Klein's Vox Is Already Being Labeled 'Left-Wing Propaganda' by Conservatives". The Atlantic. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  46. ^ a b "How Vox is going to make its way to the top". The Daily Dot. April 7, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  47. ^ "The Upshot, Vox and FiveThirtyEight: data journalism's golden age, or TMI?". The Guardian. April 22, 2014. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  48. ^ "Ezra Klein launches news site Vox.com". USA TODAY. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  49. ^ "Vox, derp, and the intellectual stagnation of the left". The Week. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  50. ^ Ryu Spaeth (July 21, 2015). "The Gawker meltdown and the Vox-ification of the news media". Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  51. ^ Harper, Christopher (January 7, 2015). "Vox news website needs to take serious look at how it 'reinvents' journalism". The Washington Times. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  52. ^ "Vox and the False Consensus of 'Most Economists Agree'". FAIR. April 1, 2016. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
  53. ^ "Vox". Media Bias/Fact Check. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
  54. ^ "Vox Media Bias Rating". AllSides. May 21, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
  55. ^ "Vox". www.influencewatch.org. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
  56. ^ Fidalgo, Paul (2016). "CSI's Balles Prize in Critical Thinking Awarded to Julia Belluz of Vox.com". Skeptical Inquirer. 40 (5): 6.
  57. ^ Peterson, Tim (August 9, 2018). "Vox Entertainment is developing a TV show with Vox.com's Emmy-nominated YouTube producer". Digiday. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  58. ^ "Nominees for the 38th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards Announced" (PDF). Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  59. ^ Scott, Caroline (August 23, 2018). "How Vox expanded its network by crowdsourcing for its latest documentary series". Journalism.co.uk. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  60. ^ "Nominees for the 39th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards Announced" (PDF). National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. July 26, 2018. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  61. ^ Weigel, David (August 23, 2014). "Here's What You Need to Know About Politico's Coverage of Vox, in Two Charts". Slate. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  62. ^ "vox.com Traffic Statistics". SimilarWeb. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  63. ^ "Ezra Klein hopes Vox can change the fact that 'people who are more into the news read the news more'". Nieman Lab. Retrieved November 20, 2017.

External links[edit]