Friday, July 18, 2014

Vox sucks

When Ezra Klein left the Washington Post to set up Vox, part of the rationale and sales pitch was that Vox was going to make far better use of frontier web technology to present news and analysis in a more creative and elegant way that the traditional media. Klein and others have hyped up Vox's storystreams -- rolling updates on major events -- as a central part of what's different about their presentation.

So go to the storystream on MH17 and what do you see? The latest update is simply the standard calculation of ratio of casualties to population to claim that MH17 is like a Dutch 9/11 in terms of scale (something that apparently never occurred to Ezra Klein before). Nearly everything before that is culled from other media reports, social media, or "researched" via Google and Wikipedia. There are some interesting graphical presentations (e.g. of flight routes) but even these rely on source material of others.

And what's missing: no assessment or evaluation of specific policy mistakes and unintended consequences that got us here. Because unlike gee-whizzery with data or maps or #slatepitch lines of argument, that stuff is hard.

UPDATE: Right on cue, the problem with relying on other people's material emerges -- the fishy tale of Maarten de Jonge.