2017 Feature, Large Newsroom finalist

Understanding Hillary Clinton

Ezra Klein, Laura McGann, Susannah Locke, Joe Posner and the Vox Media Storytelling Team

Vox Media

Feature, Large Newsroom


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About the Project

“Understanding Hillary Clinton” is a multi-component, multi-platform Vox feature that aimed to push the boundaries of what a sit-down interview with a presidential candidate can be in the era of limitless digital text space, the reach of the social Web and the power of online video. The feature package showed that policy, substance, length and depth can thrive in the digital era.

Ezra Klein interviewed Hillary Clinton in June 2016 with an unusual goal. He wasn’t going to try to “break news” in a traditional sense. In an election cycle driven by ever-increasing dramatic remarks, Ezra wanted to bring levity. He wanted to truly understand Clinton — who she is as a politician and as a wonk. He wanted our millennial-heavy audience to understand the same. It’s important to understand a presidential candidate at any moment, not in just one. This is a mission central to Vox’s aim of helping our audience understand the news.

Talking to one person is not enough. Ezra used the interview as one piece of a broader reported story that included dozens of sources to help him build out a portrait of a leader. A team at Vox took the work further, building it out into a multi-media event:

  • A transcript of the interview was annotated by Vox staff with relevant policy background and data.
  • Short clips were posted for those interested in specific questions. A long-form version of the story attracted a wide audience: 12,154,926 watch minutes on Facebook and 6,818,185 watch minutes on Youtube.
  • The data and graphics team created a special template to showcase the work and included data-driven graphics to highlight policy details.

Together, the Hillary Clinton feature delivered a wide audience a nuanced story across platforms and formats.