Is there a better way to launch a news site than have a “Game of Thrones” explainer the night of the HBO season premiere?
Ezra Klein’s new web venture officially set sail on Sunday with a shiny, unique user interface and an interesting system for getting readers to understand the news through “card stacks” that define confusing wonky news concepts in layman’s terms — including “Everything you need to know to start watching Game of Thrones today.”
These Highlighter-yellow cards provide Wikipedia-esque “crucial context alongside new information” and serve essentially as Vox’s killer app that differentiates itself from the rest. The site explains:
They’re inspired by the highlighters and index cards that some of us used in school to remember important information. You’ll find them attached to articles, where they add crucial context; behind highlighted words, where they allow us to offer deeper explanations of key concepts; and in their stacks, where they combine into detailed — and continuously updated — guides to ongoing news stories. We’re incredibly excited about them.
Klein described the site as providing “the news faster, more beautiful, and more accessible” and the New York Times reveals that Vox Media’s content management system, Chorus, is the life blood to the site.
Chorus is what sets Vox apart from the other plucky web upstarts like FiveThirtyEight as it “makes photos appear as a cursor slides down a page; add links automatically to copy; and identify problem commentators through word identification.”
As for the site’s content, Klein got the ball rolling with a a 12,000 word article called “How politics makes us stupid,” an explainer on Yale professor Dan Kahan’s research, in summary, “individuals subconsciously resist factual information that threatens their defining values.”
Vox is launching with a staff of 20 experienced reporters, including Melissa Bell, Dylan Matthews and Matthew Yglesias.
Bell told the New York Times she was both” excited and terrified” with the site’s launch.
“I worry people will say, ‘Hey, you guys promised us magic,’ ” Bell said, “and I’ll say, ‘Hey, wait a minute. Give us some time and we will get there.’ “