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Nine questions about Vox

What is Vox?

Vox is a general interest news site for the 21st century. Its mission is simple: Explain the news.

Vox is published by Vox Media, a growing modern publishing house, with six other awesome sites you should already be reading: SB Nation, The Verge, Polygon, Curbed, Eater, and Racked. Each site is a distinct entity under Vox Media. Think: Time Inc. publishing Time, but also People, Sports Illustrated, and In Style.

What happened to Project X?

Project X was the pre-launch codename of Vox.

It was coincidentally the name of a 2012 movie, in which three friends throw an epic party that spirals out of control. Please enjoy this video splicing scenes from the film with DJ Gironic’s remix of "Heads Will Roll" from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Project X is also the name of a 1987 Matthew Broderick film about the military use of chimpanzees.

Neither movie is related to Vox, which is also not a mutant super-team. Yet.

What do you mean by "explain the news"?

Our end goal isn’t telling you what just happened, or how we feel about what just happened, it’s making sure you understand what just happened.

The media is excellent at reporting the news and pretty good at adding commentary atop the news. What’s lacking is an organization genuinely dedicated to explaining the news. That is to say, our end goal isn’t telling you what just happened, or how we feel about what just happened, it’s making sure you understand what just happened.

We're going to deliver a lot of contextual information that traditional news stories aren't designed to carry, and we're hiring journalists who really know the topics they cover. There’s no way we’ll be able to help readers understand issues if we haven’t done the work to understand them ourselves.

Can you give me an example?

This article is an example. It tries to identify the main questions you might have about Vox and answer them in a clear, logically structured way. At the beginning is the most obvious, most important thing people might want to know about Vox rather than the latest scoop. This article contains news — we’re announcing our name, Vox, when up until now, we’ve only called ourselves Project X — but the new information isn’t the point. The point is to leave you with a better understanding of what we’re trying to do with Vox.

Are you going to report?

Of course. Reporting is one of our primary tools for understanding the issues we cover. And reporting the news is the way we stay on top of changes in the topics we cover. But the way we’re going to judge our reporters is not based on whether they scoop their competition. It’ll be on how well they understand their beats, and how good of a job they do sharing that understanding with our audience.

Will Vox be a bunch of articles like this one?

Our commitment to explaining the news is a commitment to an outcome not a commitment to any particular article format. We do think, however, that the traditional article format is ripe for reinvention.

In journalism, you’ll sometimes hear articles about hard topics referred to as "vegetables" or "the spinach" — the idea being that readers don’t like those subjects but they should be reading about them anyway. Our view is that there’s no important topic that can’t be made interesting to the audience. If we’re writing about something important — something that matters in people’s lives — and we’ve made it boring then that failure is on us, not on our readers.

Vegetables can be cooked poorly. But they can also be roasted to perfection with a drizzle of olive oil and hint of sea salt. It’s our job to experiment with all kinds of preparations: Feature articles, traditional news articles, Q&As, FAQs, graphics, videos (you saw the one above, right?), visualizations, and even faux-conversations like this one. It means being willing to adopt a tone that isn’t intimidating and being honest that we’re also trying to figure this stuff out. It means developing some innovative new editorial products that let us deliver contextual information more cleanly, clearly, and regularly. Our only promise is that our goal in all cases will be to move people from curiosity to understanding.


What will Vox cover?

Politics, public policy, world affairs, pop culture, science, business, food, sports, and everything else that matters are part of our editorial ambit.

We intend to be a general news site and "news" has always been defined broadly. Open up your favorite newspaper or news site and you’ll find some stories that are about things that literally just happened and some stories that are about more enduring, important subjects.

Our approach is similarly inclusive: Some of our topics will be about fast-breaking news stories and some will just be about important topics. For instance: An explanation of how other countries' health-care systems work — or even how our country’s health-care system works — probably won’t contain much new information but it’ll contain a lot of important information that’s new to most people. We’re not going to get caught up in talmudic debates about what does and doesn’t count as "news."

This sounds interesting. How can I participate?

Subscribe to our Facebook page. Follow us on Twitter. Connect with us on LinkedIn. Prefer visuals? Check us out on Instagram or YouTube. Submit your email address and we’ll notify you when we launch. And talk to us. Offer us tips, suggestions, advice, and chocolate.

This is a great chance for us to experiment with new formats, storytelling devices, and different technology all in the hopes of delivering the best information to you, when you need it. But we’ll need to know from you what’s not working (so we can change those things) and what is working (so we can keep doing those). We really do intend to listen.

When does Vox launch?