Vox.com was launched only a year ago and in that amount of time has in many ways re-defined how people view online journalism.
Vox Vice President, Melissa Bell addressed the issue of having sites post their articles in reverse chronological order, where the most recent post is shown first with no back-story or reference to that story’s initial inception. Classified as the ‘card-stack format’, it means that unless a reader had been following a specific topic from the very beginning it would be difficult for them to follow the narrative of a story that has updates posted over time. In other words, the articles that fill the space in between the accounts of the topic a reader may be interested in make it difficult to discover any old information relevant to the latest updates. As Bell simply put it, “You’re valuing recency over understanding.”
On Vox, articles are presented more so in a compilation format where all the relevant pieces of a story can be located in the same area of the website. This helps readers find various angles in which to interpret a story’s overall message/themes. Another component of this new journalistic interface is determining whether or not a certain perspective of the story is better presented in a few paragraphs, or simply a few sentences. Based on what she feels is the best fit for the story and using data to influence her decision, Bell explains that chapter one of an article may be a thousand words where the follow up story is no more than 200– a tactic she claims makes the delivery and accessibility of a story that someone may not read otherwise seem a lot more intriguing and substantially less daunting to get educated about.
So what do you think? Is Bell’s idea on the ‘card-stack format’ something a visitor to Vox-Media could quickly adapt to? Or will the new order system eventually backfire and cause some issues to arise for the site’s readership and exposure? Tweet us your thoughts to @StaterNoise using the hashtag #voxmediastories.