2018 General Excellence in Online Journalism, Large Newsroom finalist


About the Project

When Vox launched in 2014, it aimed to be a publication built on the power of the internet and fueled by the potential of a digital-first audience. After four years, we continue to find new ways to use emerging technologies to help explain the news.

The concept of explainer journalism is now part of the larger news ecosystem, but it’s embedded in Vox’s DNA. Our audiences know they can come to us to help make sense of a complicated world.

in the past year, we developed an interactive graphic that showed readers how the 2017 eclipse would look where they lived. The tool answered a basic question about a major event in a deceptively simple way, and was viewed 9.5 million times.

Our ER bills project required us to develop a bespoke data collection system that allowed us to crowdsource medical fees from readers in all 50 US states. We used that data to shed light on a murky area of hospital billing, and in the process, we’ve built a dedicated community. The six stories we’ve published have led to collaborations with doctors, academics, and government, as well as readers eager to better understand this facet of health care costs.

This year also saw the launch of Vox’s interactive Borders series, a social media–driven project that examined the human stories lived across political divides. The project started with suggestions from a passionate community on Facebook and Twitter, who then followed reporter Johnny Harris’s travels on Instagram and watched his videos on YouTube. We were able to introduce his work to a new audience with our visually stunning on-platform experience.

Over the past 12 months, Vox brought needed clarity to issues throughout the news. We asked questions about Hurricane Maria’s death toll that spurred Congress to act. We dug into the logistical reality of what a war with North Korea would look like, and helped our readers understand everything from vaping to jungle primaries to Marvel films’ elaborate post-credit sequences.

The strength of Vox’s brand and relationship with its audience transcends our web presence. This year, we launched a daily news podcast, Today, Explained, and a Netflix series, Explained, that dug deep into topics like K-pop and gene editing.

Every day we hear from readers, especially younger readers, who rely on Vox to help them understand the news. Vox has succeeded in building a brand that resonates with a wide audience, earning trust and loyalty while reaching across platforms to provide innovative, essential journalism.