From the New York Times
, a hint as to what the secret sauce of Ezra Klein’s much touted Vox.com
will be: content repurposification recyclement.
In this high-tech universe, Vox Media’s content management system — which even has its own name, Chorus, and is used to publish all the company’s websites — has earned recognition. …
Mr. Klein, hoping to avoid incrementalism — “the biggest source of waste is everything the journalist has written before today,” he said — instead wants his journalists responsible for constantly updating pages that are the ultimate resource on a topic.
“It would be like a wiki page written by one person with a little attitude,” Ms. Bell explained.
To help accomplish this, the developers have been building a tool they call the card stack. The cards, trimmed in brilliant canary yellow, contain definitions of essential terms that a reader can turn to if they require more context. For example, a story updating the battle over the Affordable Care Act might include cards explaining the term “insurance exchange.”
Isn’t that Bill Atkinson’s HyperCard
that was released on the Apple Mac in 1987?
Here’s an example of Vox: on Ukraine.
Vox is like a cross between 1987-style HyperCards and 1992-style Frequently Asked Question lists. That’s not a criticism: those were pretty good formats and it’s especially a shame that the FAQ went out of fashion. So, maybe they will come back into fashion?
As for Ezra’s idea that journalists should just reuse their old stuff, well, I’m all for doing less work. Personally, I think you people should stop demanding new stuff from me — I’m still working on my opinion on Paul Walker’s death and now you want my Mickey Rooney, too?!? — and just go mull over my old stuff until you have it memorized. For example, is Monday the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Rwanda genocide? Well, if you want to understand the fundamental Tutsi v. Hutu issues that will be trotted out misleadingly tomorrow, I wrote a movie review in 2005
offering a new anthropological theory that explains them perhaps better than anything anybody had come up with before (and definitely better than anything I’ve come up with on the topic since).
But readers seem to draw a fundamental distinction between “yesterday’s news” and “news” thus requiring constant Feeding of the Beast. Is great content management software really going to make that distinction go away for Vox and allow Klein to lavishly monetize yesterday’s news? He seems to think so, although Jeff Bezos apparently didn’t agree with him.
Well, best of luck to him.