Re: EK

1

Ahem.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:20 PM
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Oh, I can go delete that. Hang on.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:22 PM
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This post is my next.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:23 PM
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No this comment is.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:23 PM
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I dunno, "you heard it here third" has kind of a ring to it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:23 PM
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And heebie, remind people to read the comments on the linked post. Because the comments are where the awesome has taken up residence.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:24 PM
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I'm really psyched about the possibility that at some point in the future, I'm not going to regard Yglesias's work with contempt. I used to admire his writing a lot, and I'm looking forward to doing so again.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:25 PM
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Oh, everyone: be sure to read the comments on the linked post.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:25 PM
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7: Everybody Hailing Yglesias's Departure From Slate Is Wrong: It's The Worst Thing That Could Have Happened For His Writing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:28 PM
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And for that matter, as much as I've always liked Klein's work, I think some of his strongest stuff was his media criticism.

But hey, anybody can be a critic. I'm optimistic about his ability to put his vision into practice. I'm almost as optimistic about Klein as I was about Obama in 2008.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:28 PM
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9: You know, there's an opening at Slate. Maybe you should update your resume.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:29 PM
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It teo becoming Dolores Umbrage?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:30 PM
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11 probably belonged on Standpipe's blog.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:31 PM
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12: I'm apparently the only person who still reads all the threads, is all.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:32 PM
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Anyway, yeah, I think this is a great idea and I hope they can pull it off.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:33 PM
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It's Umbridge, not Umbrage. I point this out only so teo won't make me write with the pen that carves your words into your skin.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:38 PM
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What is "The Verge"? Should I have heard of it? Or any of these other Vox things?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:41 PM
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Mr. Essear, you will write "I will not take the blame for Von Wafer's misspellings."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:42 PM
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Huh. Does seem to have some potential toward making news writing less imbecilic-by-design.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:43 PM
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Is "The Verge" known in some parts of the US as "The Berm", "The Curb Lawn", "The Tree Belt", or "The Devil's Strip"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:46 PM
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But "a world-class technology platform that blows apart many of the old limitations" goes a distance into mumbo-jumbo land for me. Sounds like what they used to say about Current TV.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:48 PM
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I'm with 21. I genuinely hope they can pull it off. But the linked post and the comments that follow, several of which were authored by leading lights at Vox, leave me somewhat skeptical.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:50 PM
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No. I think this whole "World Wide Web" will catch on.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:50 PM
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21: "wapo and slate had super annoying blogging software"?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:51 PM
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several of which were authored by leading lights at Vox

Vox has "leading lights"? You know who they are? Did I miss out on a whole big internet thing?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:54 PM
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I was sure at first that it was a site run by Vox Day.

I weird thing, on balance, to be sure of.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:56 PM
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I.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:56 PM
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II.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:57 PM
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III.


Posted by: Opinionated Count von Count | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:58 PM
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25: I guess I should have put "leading lights" in scare quotes. They're really into gifs. The leading lights, I mean. They're like gif masters.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 8:58 PM
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They do have Standpipe Bridgeplate Nation, that site is good.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:00 PM
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Unless it's not actually about Standpipe. Then it's not good.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:01 PM
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I guess this is all pwned in the comment thread over there but apparently "Vox is our next" is an allusion to some big Voxy thing that all the Voxers know about? Which would be useful context to have when reading about their push to provide context.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:01 PM
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All your Vox are belong to us.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:08 PM
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Is the new Ezra thing called "The Verge"? or "Vox"? Are these both existing things? It looks like "The Verge" already exists, at least.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:19 PM
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32: thanks for making that explicit.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:20 PM
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"Vox" is just Latin for "Irish singer who will later become too full of himself to have two names."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:22 PM
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The NYTimes helpfully explains:

Vox is a digitally native business, a technology company that produces media, as opposed to a media company that uses technology. Everything at Vox, from the way it covers subjects, the journalists it hires and the content management systems on which it produces news, is optimized for the current age.

and

It's worth remembering that Vox got its hands on The Verge because the people working at Engadget, a tech site owned by AOL, grew tired of trying to publish through the big, slow blob of a huge corporation.... Vox added Curbed, Eater and Racked last year....

Ah, yes "worth remembering". Curbed, Eater and Racked. Sure.

AllThingsD, which became Re/code, was founded seven years ago

No, really, is this all some elaborate joke, or am I supposed to have heard of all of these before?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:28 PM
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38: did you read the comments on the post linked in the OP? I URGE you to do so right now. If for no other reason than you absolutely must.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:31 PM
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I don't know, but if it is 1994 again, I'm going to try to do a few things differently.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:32 PM
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39: I read some of them, but there are like 200 comments there! I only read threads with 200 comments if some of them are jokes by Moby.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:34 PM
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I do like those comments and their predominant theme of "Ahem, we know all about Vox, but who the heck is Ezra Klein and why does he write so confusingly?"

Apparently Vox is a sort of platform for massive websites. I don't see why we should know about it, any more than a company that manages logistics for certain midrange restaurant chains.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:34 PM
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but if it is 1994 again, I'm going to try to do a few things differently.

If it's 1994 again I'm going to feel really awkward sitting in middle school classrooms all the time.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:37 PM
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It looks like Apple was trading for ~$34 on this day in 1994. I think you go long on that stock, Moby.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:41 PM
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Actually, you're from Nebraska: buy local. There's a small company called Berkshire-Hathaway. Buy as many shares as you possible can. Take a second mortgage, and buy more.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:42 PM
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Is the NYT going to treat this like they treated the "Nick Denton used a Q-tip: What does it mean for mainstream media?" beat for several years?

They are, aren't they?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:44 PM
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In 1994, I didn't have a first mortgage.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:44 PM
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Green Day's Dookie came out in 1994. Usually I'm terrible at knowing/guessing album release dates, but I happen to know this one because it just came up in conversation the other night.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:52 PM
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Then you were very well positioned to acquire a great many shares. Congratulations! You're now super rich! You should give some handsome, young blogger eight figures to start a website with his friends! You'll be a new media magnate! Nick Denton will loan you Q-tips!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:54 PM
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Going long on Green Day didn't work out very well for me. Thanks for bringing it up, Stanley.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:55 PM
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Apparently Vox is a sort of platform for massive websites. I don't see why we should know about it, any more than a company that manages logistics for certain midrange restaurant chains.

It's as if you haven't even been reading Yglesias's scintillating in-depth reporting on the business decisions of mid-range restaurant chains over the past few years. I don't think he's ever mentioned Vox, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 9:58 PM
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I tried to think of a Green Day song but all I'm coming up with is the theme music for Johnny Test.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 10:04 PM
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That comment section demonstrates that the only good comments are ones with animated .gifs, and that words are worthless. Oh well, guess I've wasted my life here. Stupid fucking words.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 10:06 PM
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I'm just going to imagine this blog as consisting of animated .gifs from now on. Maybe I'll be happier.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 10:09 PM
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I just want to repeat the phrase "digitally native business" from 38. Does it mean "natively digital business"? Or does it mean "I'm just typing whatever optimistic futuristic babble pops into my head"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 10:11 PM
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Having now read a few of the comments, 42.1 seems to be correct. It looks like Ezra wrote this to explain what he's doing to an audience that was familiar with him and knew the backstory, and expected it to be shared widely enough to reach that audience (which, mission accomplished, insofar as we are discussing it here), but he published it on his new platform, where no one has apparently heard of him yet. So, a bit of a rocky start, especially given the avowed goal of providing context.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 10:13 PM
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Maybe "this business emerged fully-formed from a finger"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 10:13 PM
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57: Heh.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 10:14 PM
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Reading between the lines a bit, it looks like a lot of the advantages Klein et al. see in going with Vox are on the technical back end, and that's also where their frustrations were with WaPo (and maybe Slate too). This is probably what a lot of that notorious eight-figure ask was for, to build a better back end for digital news content, and reluctance to invest so much in building it was probably a lot of why the Post balked. If, as seems likely from what Ezra writes, Vox already has a lot of that infrastructure available, it makes sense that they would be more agreeable.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 10:28 PM
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59: I hope that's right. And for all of my snark, I hope he succeeds. He's a very hard-working guy and, despite his careerism (which I think is probably a feature not a bug), he presents as a relatively decent sort.

Still, I think leaving WaPo for Vox seems like a real gamble. Maybe he thought he had no choice. Maybe he backed himself into a corner during his negotiations. Maybe Vox really will provide the platform that he needs to accomplish what he wants to accomplish, and maybe we'll all be better for it.

But I can't help thinking that he believes his personal brand is more valuable than it actually is, that his success owes more to his talents than to good luck, good timing, and good connections. I suppose that kind of confidence is what it takes to make it big in his industry, and that he created his network rather than lucking into it, so maybe, again, his sense of self-worth is another feature and not a bug.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 10:49 PM
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Of the Vox sites listed, I think The Verge is the only one I've read stuff on more than a few times and I had no idea they were all linked. The Verge does some good tech reporting, but I think most of what I've read there have been product reviews and at least they seem to be more journalistic than some of the breathless press release-y tech product journalism sites.

Also, they stole my idea.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 10:52 PM
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Huh. Apparently there's a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. I guess the idea's not so original after all. (Not that I thought it was.)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 10:54 PM
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60: This is also evidence against your prediction from a while back that he was on his way to becoming the next Broder, which seemed pretty accurate until now.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 10:57 PM
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Further to 60, the comments on that post has a "bros hanging out with bros (just sharing some gifs, bro)" quality that doesn't exactly scream professionalism. But then again, I'm an old man with a limp. And this is Andrew Sullivan's America. Like I said above, I wish Ezra every success. We could use some non-shitty journalism.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 10:59 PM
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I admit that when I first read his post explaining the project I was tempted to apply for a job with it, even though that's obviously a terrible idea and I'm not actually going to do it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 10:59 PM
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63: like I said above, I'm not at all sure this was the path he wanted. I can't imagine that he wanted to trade away his affiliation with WaPo for Vox. But of course I can't know that. And again, I'm old and he's not.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 11:02 PM
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The comments at The Verge are kind of what I expect from a site that's mostly tech news. Although no one has told them that if they want to publish a website more easily they should get a Mac. Yet. I don't see VW's point in remarking on them. It's (presumably) a different audience than whoever will read EK's venture, if it gets read, and (presumably) a different audience than who reads SB Nation and whatever those other sites with weird names are about.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 11:04 PM
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I don't see VW's point in remarking on them.

Heaven knows, I've been terribly opaque.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 11:06 PM
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65: I'd have applied for it had it existed when I was thinking about going into journalism as a job. Instead, I chose the path of unemployment, underemployment, more grad school, unemployment, and then finally employment. I turned out to be pretty not into actually doing daily 24-hour-news cycle oriented journalism. Coincidentally, I recognize the byline of one of The Verge reporters as having been an intern at the same place where I was years ago.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 11:08 PM
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I'd like to see this succeed, but I seriously doubt it. This seems like the kind of journalism that needs subsidies from the kinds of journalism we love to hate on. You don't publish things that pander for the rich for nothing, or at least that's not good business.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 11:14 PM
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70: Yeah, that's my concern as well. This is a good idea in that it's a product for which there is a need, but I don't really see where the money is going to come from to pay for it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 11:15 PM
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If you go halfway down the comments Ezra and Yggles show up with jokey titles "Editor-in-Chief, Project X" and "Executive Editor, Website That Needs a Name"


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 11:17 PM
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At least some of the commenters are libertarian dipshits because they said Volokh replacing Ezra was trading up.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 11:20 PM
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Green Day's Dookie came out in 1994.

As did Portishead's Dummy, Weezer's first album, Illmatic, Underworld's Dubnobasswithmyheadman, and OutKast's Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 11:24 PM
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You peeps need to stay in more. The Verge is a fairly new, hip, tech site that got a lot of buzz when it launched, because the good writers from the other tech sites were sick of what had happened at their old gigs and launched The Verge. Their tagline before launch was "This is our next." It's a pretty good site. (All Things D(igital) was a WSJ site that was a big player/news scooper in the tech world, and their top folks also just left their paper to start their own venture.) Finally, Vox is owned/run by Kos and Jerome Armstrong and some other folks from the dawn of political blogging.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 11:41 PM
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75: Based on that rundown, you've got a bright future in tech.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 11:42 PM
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You're going to say "As a PR guy," aren't you? I'll cut you.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 11:47 PM
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You peeps need to stay in more.

I got 99 problems, but not staying home enough ain't one.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 11:50 PM
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No, that was actually sincere! I was going to write basically the same thing but you beat me to it.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 11:51 PM
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Hey now, there's nothing wrong with being a PR guy.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 11:57 PM
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The thing that goes me is that successful editing - in the sense of the choice and presentation of stories - has always involved placing things in context. But this is normally done implicitly, by appeal to a vast shadowy hinterland of stories and characters the reader half knows and relies on. Genuinely context-free journalism, one long procession of "ooh, shinies!" unrelated by anything except shininess, is really a creature of TV news.

Short form: context is something the reader naturally supplies. All we need do is trigger or seed their context-generating mechanisms. This can be done with great economy cf the Economist, the Daily Mail, but also consistency. There is no guarantee at all that the generated context will correspond to reality, and little reason to suppose that people will pay extra for more realistic context-generation when they could have the Economist or the Daily Mail. So what are these boys smoking, or have they just been watching too much TV?


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 01-26-14 11:59 PM
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The thing that goes me is that successful editing - in the sense of the choice and presentation of stories - has always involved placing things in context. But this is normally done implicitly, by appeal to a vast shadowy hinterland of stories and characters the reader half knows and relies on.

I suppose, but I think the premise behind this effort is that that sort of implicit context is often totally wrong and bears no relation to reality. Setting out an explicit context based on verifiable evidence is an attempt to counteract that.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 12:07 AM
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74 is a good reminder of how tuned out of music I was in the 90s. I only have memories associated with Portishead, and those weren't until 1997.

AllThingsD is a awesome name.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 12:09 AM
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82: yes. I entirely agree, but my rather cynical point is that there's a very small market for that. magnum est veritas et prevaelabit as Stevie Smith translated it - "Great is the truth, and will prevail, a bit"


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 12:22 AM
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84: Well, yes. See 70 and 71. It would be great it they could figure out a way to do this, but it's not clear that they can.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 12:26 AM
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That said, the specific people involved, especially Klein, have actually been pretty successful at pioneering a more substantive type of journalism so far. Of course, they've done that with the sponsorship of established media companies, and it's not clear how well they can carry that success over to a new venture without that big-name backing.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 12:50 AM
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I predict that ... this will be a bunch of blogs that look pretty much like the current blogs by the same authors. Revolutionary! Which is OK, I like Ezra's blog pretty well. He'll probably do OK but get less traffic than at the WP. Maybe Yglesias will turn himself around but I'm not counting on it, he's pretty far gone at this point.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 1:01 AM
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||

Oh hey Rob! Here's a thing">http://theprogressreport.co.nz/2014/01/27/the-policy-implications-of-lordes-grammy-wins">thing I wrote about Lorde winning Grammys you might be interested in, it's basically a rehash of things I said here but made slightly more hackish.

Also god rock music's dead.

|>


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 1:12 AM
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Eugh gross linkage stuff.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 1:13 AM
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60: But I can't help thinking that he believes his personal brand is more valuable than it actually is, that his success owes more to his talents than to good luck, good timing, and good connections.

You're reading it backwards. Ezra was pulling something like 40% of the WaPo's traffic. He was working with the WaPo's apparently shitty CMS, and treated (in masthead terms) as a second-stringer behind the likes of Chuck Krauthammer & Ruth Marcus (now with added heavy-handed editing). Meantime, his wife is employed at the NYT and he's on the idiot box as a paying gig.

Basically he's making the bills, he has the traffic to justify being backed by a new platform, so he's got nothing to lose and (sorry for melodramatic phrasing) and a journalistic world to win. Why not dump the worm-eaten old scow for a speedy little pirate schooner? If the money angle doesn't work out, he's still Ezra, who is on the idiot box, and who can probably acquire any old journo job he wants.

(No, life is not fair, but stodgy, greedy old people have always been willing to suck the perceived hot young people dry to appeal to the kids, so it's a good thing he got 'picked' from a zillion interns, and a good he got far enough along to cut lose.)

81:There is no guarantee at all that the generated context will correspond to reality, and little reason to suppose that people will pay extra for more realistic context-generation when they could have the Economist or the Daily Mail.

But that's rather the point - the print mags and the Daily Mail are not doing so well. It may be that Ezra does as badly economically, but the product is likely as good as or better than what is being done now.

So what are these boys smoking, or have they just been watching too much TV?

Think Stratfor in concept (not execution!) - a private intelligence service. Commit said acts of journalism in public, strip away all the crud associated with Stratfor (their interview seems to consist of the question, 'Is Bill Kristol a brilliant intellectual and amazing strategic thinker?' - if the interviewee says yes, they're in). So something along the lines of the information a public intelligence service would provide. In theory the mags & papers are supposed to provide that, but they're constrained by the dead hand of existing conventions, plus the bad hands of a mass of editors.

Intelligence briefings generally provide full backgrounder to get someone up to speed, plus a 'what's going on now' slug to fill in the holes. Since this outfit won't be limited by previous conventions Ezra & company may be able to do that better.

The fact that everyone seems to think this is imneccessary and unpossible tells me that there's a hole so empty no one seems to realize it exists. ('We trudge through Wikipedia and talk to tedious bores so you don't have to!') If they hit the empty hole right they won't have a problem breaking out. To recycle: they don't have to outrun the bear, they just have to outrun the other son of a bitch.

That's if I'm understanding what he's hinting at correctly. Maybe he was just tired of working for The Man.

7: I'm really psyched about the possibility that at some point in the future, I'm not going to regard Yglesias's work with contempt.

The boy needs a real blog, with room to roam. I've left comments to that effect to him three or four times now.

max
['Lots of folks founded lots and lots of newspapers back in the day, and lots of those survived for quite some time. In this latter version, I expect Ezra & Co.'s chances are pretty good. Look at the competition.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 1:38 AM
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max!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 1:45 AM
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The fact that everyone seems to think this is imneccessary and unpossible tells me that there's a hole so empty no one seems to realize it exists.
Oh I think this could be done all right. But not on the basis of being ad-supported.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 2:46 AM
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Max!

Intelligence briefings generally provide full backgrounder to get someone up to speed, plus a 'what's going on now' slug to fill in the holes. Since this outfit won't be limited by previous conventions Ezra & company may be able to do that better.

We have an election coming round and EK and Dylan Matthews have a couple months to get up to speed.

A democrat is running for Congress from boondocks, midamerica state.

Vox is run in part by Kos and Jerome Armstrong? I WAS SHOCKED! JA shows up at Ian Welch's place.

What can these people offer the naif, or the naif's staffers? Do I trust these kids more than Carville or Penn? More than some K-street assholes? (EK may have to give up the tv gigs)

I expect EK to establish a reputation and product in 2014, and start getting fucking filthy rich and insanely powerful after 2016. I also expect EK to move considerably to the left very fast, as far left as he can and keep access. I expect EK to help get Democrats elected, and policy enacted.

The man is some kind of genius, but even more importantly, carrying Napoleon-level ambition in his field. Not sure what he really wants, but we can see what he didn't want. He didn't want to work in government or for a pol, he didn't want to be Broder, he didn't want to be Chris Matthews, he didn't want K-street

PS:Anybody think EK didn't gross a million last year? What's a guest shoe on MSNBC pay? A host night?

PPS: Amazing that these guys are so wildly undereducated by Beltway standards. I have long expected them to spend a couple years getting higher degrees.

PPPS: Is Yggles lazy? Unfocused? Unambitious? I no longer expect much from him.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 3:13 AM
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What is "The Verge"? Should I have heard of it? Or any of these other Vox things?

The Verge is one of the biggest mainstream(ish) tech (and increasingly nerd-culture) news sites. It was set up a few years back by a load of Engadget writers. It's pretty good overall, although it does have an annoyingly US-centric slant that you don't see on, say, Engadget or (obviously) The Register. And sometimes it can be a bit too in love with its own design, which can get in the way of just finding the stories you want to read. Which isn't such a problem if you just subscribe to the RSS feed.

Vox is basically a less click-baity Gawker Media.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 3:24 AM
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What's the name of the crowdfunding site, where Veronica Mars movie raised capital? Whatever.

The Obama healthcare fiasco shows that the Ptb still don't know their ass from their elbows.

Kos knows. EK knows. Armstrong worked closely with Dean.

The Web as a source of mainstream political funding and organization and influence is still almost totally untapped compared to what it could be.

There are tens of millions of people and billions of dollars being left on the table.

There's your hole.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 3:26 AM
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But that's rather the point - the print mags and the Daily Mail are not doing so well.

The Mail Online is the most read English language newspaper site in the world and gets over 150m unique users a month. It's making money hand over fist. Also, while its print publication has declining revenue, it's still distressingly successful. It sells more print copies than any US newspaper.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 3:43 AM
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96: but the online Mail is not making a lot of money. A third of DMGT's revenues now come from its conference business. I know that making money *at all* is a hell of a feat right now. But the Mail Online will never be nearly as profitable per user as the dead tree version was. In fact it's much closer to context-free news, too, unless having a huge rolodex in your head of everyone who has ever "showed off her" anything on television counts as context.

the ever popular hoohole search gave 47m results for porny clickbait headlines on that site last year. They have since done some SEO to block such queries/


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 4:07 AM
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A third of DMGT's revenues now come from its conference business.

I know, I used to work for the bit of the DMGT that owns the conference business.

I know that making money *at all* is a hell of a feat right now. But the Mail Online will never be nearly as profitable per user as the dead tree version was.
That's clearly true, but I'm not sure what the implication is supposed to be. The entire business model is built around attracting large numbers of "shallow" visitors, rather than cultivating a core readership. Mail Online's most recently published revenues were £41m, predicted to increase by 50% this year, which isn't exactly chump change.

In fact it's much closer to context-free news, too, unless having a huge rolodex in your head of everyone who has ever "showed off her" anything on television counts as context.

Oh totally. Mail Online is as cynical as Gawker in that respect, if not more so. I was just saying that it's doing more than OK economically, especially for an ad-driven newspaper website.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 4:19 AM
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Yes. It's certainly doing as well as an ad-driven newspaper website could possibly do. Is the £41m profit?


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 4:29 AM
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Just revenues. I don't think they broke out operating profit for online, but from my understanding it's a lot less costly than, say, the Graun's online business.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 4:36 AM
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I doubt that. It employs a hell of a lot more people.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 4:56 AM
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I admit, I mostly didn't know 75. (I mean, I knew AllThingsD had gone elsewhere. Swisher and Mossberg leaving trad journalism was in fact a huge thing, much bigger than Ezra (and Yglesias) leaving it.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 5:04 AM
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I knew Kos owned SB nation from way back, but I thought he had sold it, not that he runs some larger site it is now part of.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 5:19 AM
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Speaking of the Mail


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 5:22 AM
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This is our next is a remarkably silly slogan btw. Our next what? Steve Jobs failed startup that provided much loved, but ultimately dead end technologies?


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 5:24 AM
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103: apparently he... founded it? I had zero idea. I thought of that site as a branded collector for shitty college sports blogs. The Verge is quite ugly and unreadable on my ipad.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 5:25 AM
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The Verge is quite ugly and unreadable on my ipad.

Like I say, it's best read via RSS.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 5:36 AM
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105: The link you supply contains one gorgeous, really remarkable example of "But we never said exactly what we meant":

Claim 4: Bulgarians and Romanians were last night preparing to travel to Britain as restrictions on working here are lifted tomorrow

The Daily Mail claimed that their story didn't say if there was a link with Romanians and Bulgarians coming to the UK and the lifting of 'work restrictions' on 1 January. The Mail's legal department told me, 'It is for a reader to make a connection if he or she chooses.' But the connection seemed clear enough in the sentence above.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 5:36 AM
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Second par should have been in italics too. I blame the immigrants who coded this shit.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 5:37 AM
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http://www.mediaweek.co.uk/article/1142207/mail-online-makes-its-first-profit-june-2012

Apparently, Mail Online became profitable (on an ongoing basis - I don't think this counts initial investment) in June 2012. That was when their revenue was on the order of £20m a year with 90m unique monthly visitors.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 5:40 AM
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Oh, "tech" and "nerd-culture". The Verge is one of those websites where I can find out what computer programmers think about Stephen Hawking's latest shitty paper on black hole information. How useful.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 5:52 AM
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It's not so much that, though those sorts of stories do crop up occasionally. 90% of it is pure tech - gadget reviews and news, stories about what's happening at tech companies or in tech law, that sort of thing. But they've also started doing random culture stuff that could loosely be described as nerd culture coverage - so for instance there's an article about Daft Punk winning a Grammy at the moment, I guess because they're popular among nerds, and there's a review of The Raid 2, because martial arts maybe? They're also doing extensive coverage of Sundance, for no particular tech reason I can think of. I can't say I care for that part of their coverage.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 6:05 AM
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No, I was being completely literal.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 6:06 AM
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Except for the "useful" part.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 6:06 AM
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Anyway, it explains my ignorance of these websites. I have very little interest in reading about gadgets or tech companies.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 6:10 AM
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I didn't realize that SB Nation and The Verge were connected. Apparently I've been getting my Orioles content from the same place as my tech reviews. They do a good job with both.

The success of the SB Nation model shows that they could implement this Ezra Klein project on a local level, if they chose to go that direction. That could be hugely valuable, given the decline and fall of local journalism in this country.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 6:24 AM
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I mean, heck, SB Nation already has access to a giant network of local amateur sports writers, most of whom are pretty good at the job of providing in-depth analysis of whatever picayune details may affect the prospects of their favorite team. Give those people a platform to get noticed writing about something besides sports, and some of them could be very successful.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 6:31 AM
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max!

Short form: context is something the reader naturally supplies. All we need do is trigger or seed their context-generating mechanisms. ...There is no guarantee at all that the generated context will correspond to reality, and little reason to suppose that people will pay extra for more realistic context-generation when they could have the Economist or the Daily Mail. So what are these boys smoking, or have they just been watching too much TV?

At a regional/state level, the kind of context I would kill for is is timeline + history. So this year's school district budget story gets placed in a context of the last five years of increasingly hysterical budgets.

Instead, what we get now is 650 words on what happened last night plus 50 words recapping this current budget cycle. It's like the people in power get a free reboot every #!%(&!#$%! year.

It was most egregious during the stimulus (aka Recovery Act). The district said a bunch of things that were not humanly possible, and the following year when all the chickens came home to roost, the only sign of the previous year was in ugly reader comments (!) to the new year's stories.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 6:37 AM
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It's been a very long time max. Good to see you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 6:39 AM
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Just by way of tedium, "this is our next" was prepended to a changing list of gadgets "this is our next...phone/console/whatever" with the implicit, "this is our next project." Maybe still silly, but the meaning was clear. I'll stop explaining now; they're pretty good, not great.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 6:44 AM
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Maybe someone mentioned this, but apparently "explanatory journalism" is a term of art. You can get a good sense of what it means from the list of Pulitzer winners: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulitzer_Prize_for_Explanatory_Reporting


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 6:48 AM
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Anyhow I hate it when people on the internet are all everything-is-terrible so I will join team "sure, could work". It's interesting the degree to which people are tyring to imitate the gawker empire.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 6:54 AM
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I, too, am tiring of gawker imitators.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 6:56 AM
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I knew he founded SB, I was active on one of the blogs early on.
I also have a relatively low Kos UID (3102), apparently that has a certain cachet.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 7:05 AM
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NWPL --News white people like.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 7:19 AM
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38: AllThingsD is one I've known about for a long time. Walt Mossberg was the personal technology columnist for the WSJ, and that was the name of his column. He's great, because he looks at how an average non-techie person might use a device. A long time ago I would research these things extensively. Then I decided that I'd just trust Walt and then look in a few other sources. Then I just decided that I liked the Macintosh.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 7:39 AM
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Having just found Re/code, I read a review by Walt Mossberg of a subscripton music service called Beat. Has anyone used it?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 8:15 AM
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s/b Beats Music


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 8:15 AM
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Silver, Greenwald and now Klein think that money can be made through quality journalism. A dubious proposition, sure, but I'm glad they are trying.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 8:30 AM
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Yeah I think 90 is right. Klein a significant chunk of the WP's online traffic himself; it's not clear how much of that will stay with the Post and how much will follow him to his new place, but as with Nate Silver and the NYT it's not crazy to think that the Post needed Klein more than Klein needed the Post.

Vox and a couple other groups (Pitchfork, AOL, Glam Media) are all trying to turn into the next Gawker-and-then-some; Vox's CMS is well-regarded and probably makes running the kind of thing that Klein wants Wonk is Our Next much easier. See ">Felix Salmon on the Vox/Curbed acquisition. If you think of these websites as specialty-interest magazines and all these companies attempting to turn into the web's Time or Conde Nast*, maybe that'll make it easier. (This is kind of the sea I swim in, work-wise.)

* Conde Nast is also trying to turn into the web's version of Conde Nast, unsurprisingly.


Posted by: snarkout |
Link to this comment | 01-27-14 8:34 AM
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130's botched link should be to http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2013/11/11/content-economics-part-4-scale/. Sorry.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 8:35 AM
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s/b Beats Music

No, but given it's from the people who brought you the ultimate overpriced, bizarrely popular, style-over-substance headphones (in a market already overloaded with such products), I'd avoid it like the plague just on principle.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 8:49 AM
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"This is our next."

"Ezra Klein is a huge get"

that notorious eight-figure ask

Suddenly everything is a noun?? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 9:31 AM
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133: if that's your high.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 9:32 AM
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Crazy pills are the suck.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 9:36 AM
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Noun is the new blackest.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 9:49 AM
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I KNOW RIGHT? FUCKING NEOLOGISTS, THEY'LL BE MAKING "CONTROL" A NOUN NEXT!


Posted by: OPINIONATED HOLOFERNES | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 9:53 AM
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Verbing nouns has turned into a huge thing. Nouning verbs is only fair.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 10:01 AM
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Next, nouning verbings.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 10:03 AM
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But verbing weirds language.

Teo @ 65, you should apply and crowdsource your 150 word blurb about why they should hire you to the Mineshaft. This is one of the few gigs where "time wasted on Unfogged" turns into "X years of internet content generation in an interactive platform." You could probably work in "eclectic web magazine."


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 10:16 AM
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This conversation isn't adjectival or adverbilyish enough.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 10:19 AM
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140: That would be one of the only hiring processes in which any obfuscatory language about dicking around on Unfogged for a decade would probably get translated back into 'dicking around on Unfogged for a decade'. Might be an advantage in the hiring process, but I'll bet it would be clearly understood.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 10:21 AM
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Bureau of Land Management analyst. Context back to the teapot dome, applied to Keystone and also the more important port expansion in Washington.

Hey, wait, about that, is this promising news correct?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 10:22 AM
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Verbing gerunds.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 10:31 AM
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142: Right! I should have more strongly implied that using what might be considered obfuscatory code would be correctly decoded as well being as outright relevant experience. I mostly want to see the crowdsourced 150 word blurb.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 10:35 AM
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The example that makes me wonder about explanatory profitability is TPM. They've always been driven by headline news and commentary, but for a while they had lots of background stuff on things like the Abramoff scandal, with timelines, casts of players, etc. I don't read the site as much now but a lot of that seems to have been dropped and you have to subscribe for longform pieces.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 10:38 AM
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If everyone is doing longform pieces, who is going to have time to read longform pieces anymore?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 11:19 AM
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Vox CEO explains absolutely nothing about the planned venture.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 11:24 AM
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The example that makes me wonder about explanatory profitability is TPM. They've always been driven by headline news and commentary, but for a while they had lots of background stuff on things like the Abramoff scandal, with timelines, casts of players, etc. I don't read the site as much now but a lot of that seems to have been dropped and you have to subscribe for longform pieces.

I'm not sure that says much about explanatory profitability in general. Presumably (though I'm not a TPM Prime subscriber so I don't know), the explanatory stuff hasn't been dropped, it's just behind the paywall, and is hence generating cash directly from readers rather than just contributing to pageviews. What it does raise questions about is whether explanatory journalism delivered to a mass audience for free can be profitable, and that's the audience that would benefit most from it (and also the model that the Vox venture seems to be going for, for certain values of "mass audience").


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 11:35 AM
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Vox CEO explains absolutely nothing about the planned venture.

I don't know what more there is to explain, really. It's basically Wonkblog hosted by the guys who publish The Verge and other web-first news sites. It may have a slightly less inside-the-Beltway remit than Wonkblog, but it'll be doing the same sort of thing.

What I find interesting is that they seem to be sticking with a fairly conventional website model, rather than, say, developing a data visualisation brand alongside it and licensing it. It's a surprisingly modest vision.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 11:42 AM
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I think a lot of the specific explanatory stuff I'm thinking of was dropped before Prime came in, but Prime may have things for current ongoing news, I guess. Muckraker also seems to be less important to the site as well.

My general point was just that if explanatory journalism needs subsidies from other parts of the business or from subscriptions, TPM seems to be an example of that.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 11:55 AM
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How are subscriptions subsidies? They're customers paying for content.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 12:33 PM
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Aha. Some details.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 12:48 PM
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This reminds me of Quartz , which seems like the Atlantic's effort to do the exact same fancy 'digitally native' wonkblog thing.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 4:38 PM
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Aha. Some details.

That seems potentially promising -- though, as in so many things, the proof will be in how they fail. When they realize that they can't do everything they want will they still be able to pull of an interesting sub-set?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 4:50 PM
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Hopefully they will do without Quartz' weird-ass scrolling.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 5:14 PM
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152: I think I was being unclear. I just meant subscriptions are an example of something outside of the free to read ad-supported model, which is what I thought the new venture was supposed to be. I actually have no idea if some of the Vox sites have paywalls.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 7:24 PM
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Teo @ 65, you should apply and crowdsource your 150 word blurb about why they should hire you to the Mineshaft. This is one of the few gigs where "time wasted on Unfogged" turns into "X years of internet content generation in an interactive platform."

As noted in subsequent comments, there's no need for euphemisms in this context. These guys know all about Unfogged. I might also work in a reference to the time I played poker with them.

Anyway, feel free to crowdsource a blurb for me, but I'm not actually going to apply. I'm fairly certain anything they can offer would be a step down monetarily from where I am now, and my career here has been progressing rapidly. (Disconcertingly rapidly, actually, and I'll keep this in mind as a possible fallback plan if something goes wrong.)

Bureau of Land Management analyst. Context back to the teapot dome, applied to Keystone and also the more important port expansion in Washington.

Yeah, this is the sort of thing I have in mind that I might do if I did work for them. I think I'd be pretty good at it, provided I could just do the context stuff and didn't have to do any actual reporting.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-27-14 10:47 PM
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So here's an interesting article about why this is happening.

Apparently... Vox has "better tech". It has such great tech, you wouldn't believe it. Which is incredibly, incredibly important. I can't imagine why it would be important at all, but it must be obvious to regular readers of Charlie Warzel.

Is this just about "better tech" leading to better ways to make your articles viral, Upworthy style? What else could it be?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 6:32 PM
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During my brief stint in journalism in early 2008-ish, it was clear that the platform/CMS where I was had more of an impact on how news got presented than was ideal. The place was working with a modified blog template for main post content, and then certain regions on the page were used to highlight stories or link to more articles. It mostly worked but to take one example of design constraints, sometimes a story couldn't be given the priority we wanted because we didn't have an image of the proper dimensions to go with it and there was no flexibility to use the feature boxes without pictures. I think they've since completely redesigned how they work their front page.

I could easily see someone wanting to have flexible layouts built into a system instead of having to custom-code exceptions as they arise. I don't know of any actual examples, but what if "normal" page templates had a certain width more appropriate for portrait orientation, but you had this great visualization that needed landscape dimensions to work? If your system can't handle that you either just can't display it or you have to do some likely labor-intensive, hard to repeat workaround. Is that worth leaving a platform over? I don't know, but it could be.

In the part of my work that involves web design I run into this king of thing all the time. I don't run a site myself, and I'm not a high-level administrator, and major decisions are made organizationally with certain people signing off on them, so I can't just go around changing fonts or colors or page templates or whatever--even though I or the group I work with has control over text content.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 8:32 PM
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text content s/b text content for our pages - the idea is that there's central responsibility for the overarching structure, but distributed responsibility for what's on the pages. Many news sites seem to have a similar structure but with more intensive web development needs.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 8:38 PM
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160 is helpful and interesting.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 8:41 PM
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SAYS ME!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 8:41 PM
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I agree with 162. That's the sort of thing I took Ezra's initial announcement to be talking about, and several subsequent things that have been written about this effort have reinforced that impression.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 8:43 PM
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