Before this assignment, I wasn’t a frequent Vox reader but I was always intrigued by their videos and headlines. Now, I’ve followed the site for a semester and analyzed its simple yet impactful mission: Explain the news. Vox was made for with all of us in mind. Here are some of the biggest aspects I’ve noticed about Vox.
Vox is definitely winning in the explainer category. Whether it be an informative video or think piece, Vox prides itself on making big news digestible for everyone. Vox’s explainer section is full of the biggest news with the most context and background. If you ever find yourself confused about the history of Trump and Kanye’s relationship, climate change, or how 4/20 became a day about marijuana, Vox is here to help. My favorite example came from early this year, when republicans in congress passed a sweeping tax bill – without a single vote from democrats. And how did Vox explain the confusing bill? With a video about cereal.
Vox aims to be “wherever you live on the internet”. You can find Vox on iTunes, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and basically any app you have. And I think Vox also does a good job of being present on most of these platforms. They constantly update their Instagram stories and continue to introduce new podcasts to its line-up (they announced the release of their new podcast Today, Explained just a few months ago). On Facebook, Vox makes quote cards to accompany its stories (and these cards are specifically made for Facebook as they aren’t featured in the article). I think this is a good way for Vox to connect with its audience visually. Even with its emphasis on explainer articles, Vox still finds the time to produce documentary series on its YouTube channel that follow foreign policy, music and more.
Vox’s graphic design team has talent, but we only get to see it every so often. Their story about the Ayahuasca retreat, which I previously made a post about, is the only story I’ve seen that has such detailed illustrations. Many Vox stories just feature a stock image right under the headline, a style that most news websites stick to. But Vox definitely can branch outside of this box. With the creative videos, data graphics, and the few illustrations I’ve seen, Vox could add these elements into more of their stories. Like this one:
4. Ambitious Stories
Vox covers the big stories, even the ones that may be harder to cover. They’ve taken up the task of keeping record of every high ranking person accused of sexual assault, what industry they’re in, what day they were accused, who accused them, etc. This is the very first story I wrote about when I began tracking Vox and it’s great to come back to the story and see that Vox is still tracking this because it’s very important work. But it is sad to see how quickly this list has grown.
5. What’s Next
While it seems that Vox is always one step ahead already I think they could definitely do more interactive stories like the one above. Since their motto is to “Explain the news” a lot of their stories have a lot of context, which is needed, but the amount of words can get overwhelming. I’m not asking Vox to create an interactive/multimedia element for every single story, that sounds exhausting, but I definitely think some of their written Explainer articles need more than a stock image at the top. They could break up some of the text with more images, more social media reaction, and maybe even take a poll of their followers and post the result in the story