This week, my Gartner colleague Todd Berkowitzwrote about the launch of Vox.com, a general news property produced by Vox Media with the apparent goal of focusing on substance over sizzle.
Vox, from what I can tell, operates by the original newsman’s mandate of educating its readership. This no-nonsense approach to reporting is both refreshing and rare in today’s age of faux journalism, sensationalized headlines, smarmy opinionnaring, and breaking news banners that cry wolf with every unremarkable turn in the news cycle.
Vox focuses on the facts—the news you need to know and understand to shine light in the dark corners of today’s complex global entanglements.
As a digital marketer, the real innovation here, for me, is Vox’s modern twist on the traditional tenets of journalism. It respects both old and new.
Instead of the attention-seeking pretence that has watered down so much of today’s media, it has returned to the fact-based roots of the trade—but it serves it up in a way that respects the diminished attention spans and superabundance of information inundating audiences today. It spoon-feeds news and insight with data visualizations and slideshow-style reporting.
In his post, Todd discussed the concept of cards, which Vox uses to spoon-feed the important facts and chronology of current news events. Cards have roots in Kanban, a lean/agile workflow methodology and they’re reminiscent of the slideshows and lists that have become a common structure for storytelling.
Vox applies cards to complex subjects where a pile of prose—or even a richly rendered infographic—are too dense or abstract to properly illuminate what matters most. Cards organize the logical arc of a long-form storyline into the bite-sized chunks of short-form snapshots.
Cards are, in a sense, spoon-fed journalism.
Content marketers should take note: Vox’s approach to data journalism and spoon-fed storytelling are more than a pretentious modern-day conceit.
It’s the new architecture for digital storytelling.