Cool Kids New Afterschool Project

Ezra, Matt, Melissa Bell and Dylan Matthews are starting a new Internet news outlet at Vox Media, who publish SB Nation, The Verge and a few other sites.

If they do for news what The Verge did for tech, expect a shit-ton of content, well regulated comments, and perhaps a section of user-generated content with comments.

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49 replies
  1. 1
    maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor says:

    Ezra.

    Let me know how it turns out.

  2. 2
    Tommy says:

    I am stunned the Post let Ezra go. I’ve seen stats that around elections he was driving 60 percent of all the Post’s traffic. Plus with Bezos as the owner you’d think he would be all in with investing in some new kind of journalism.

  3. 3
    maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor says:

    @Tommy:

    Might not have been Jeff’s choice. In examining Ezra’s career arc thus far, one can reasonably hypothesize that Ezra doesn’t want to work for Bezos, he wants to be Bezos.

  4. 4
    NonyNony says:

    @Tommy:

    Plus with Bezos as the owner you’d think he would be all in with investing in some new kind of journalism.

    Only if you assume that Bezos bought the Post (with the loose change collected from under his couch cushions) in order to start a revolution in the journalism industry.

    My assumption is that Bezos bought the Post to buy his way into the connections of Washington DC. Ezra does little to help him with the DC cocktail circuit, so why bother funding his pie-in-the-sky journalism venture? If my assumption is correct, Bezos bought the Post not to make money, but act as a status symbol and a place to scratch backs for people in the DC cocktail circuit. It needs to stay out of the red and break even, maybe make a little profit, but Bezos isn’t interested in what Klein wants to do.

    I could be completely wrong. But given who has been staying at the Post and who’s been leaving, my theory that it’s a 21st century example of “new money” trying to buy its way into the right connections in the big leagues continues to sound good to me.

  5. 5
    Tommy says:

    @maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor: Plus if you believe the news stories on his leaving there was more than a few people at the Post that were not so happy with him, his “brand” was becoming larger then the Post itself. But that seems to be how journalism works these days.

  6. 6
    MikeJ says:

    @NonyNony: Buying the Post was probably put down in the “lobbying” section of his budget.

  7. 7
    NotMax says:

    Ezra Klein may be many things, but “cool’ is not one of them.

  8. 8
    Dan says:

    I have to say, I’m going to be interested to see how this turns out. Although Ezra has flirted with HIgh Broderism here and there, he first made his mark by becoming an expert on health care legislation and then writing about it in layman’s terms. this willingness to actually flippin’ research policy shouldn’t be a rarity among the DC Press Corpse, but it is – i’m hopeful that the new site continues this and is a success so that it can spawn more imitators. More journalists becoming well-versed in policy and reporting on it is a Good Thing.

  9. 9
    Tommy says:

    I am just happy Ezra, Greenwald, and Nate Silver are going out on their own. Look I don’t always agree with them (I don’t always agree with myself) but if they are writing on a topic I care about I’d like to learn something from what they write. I find I usually walk away after reading them smarter then I was.

  10. 10
    Keith G says:

    @NotMax: “Nerdy” cool, definitely.

  11. 11
    geg6 says:

    Anyone who would hire Matt Yglesius for anything loses all respect from me. That gigantic privileged hack who can’t spell his way out of a wet paper bag is shit AFAIC.

  12. 12
    TS says:

    @Tommy:

    I am stunned the Post let Ezra go. I’ve seen stats that around elections he was driving 60 percent of all the Post’s traffic. Plus with Bezos as the owner you’d think he would be all in with investing in some new kind of journalism.

    I heard that about Nate Silver – I never read Ezra – but checked out Nate every day for at least 3 months before the 2012 election.

  13. 13
    Tommy says:

    @TS: Nate did the same thing at the NYT. The team that the Post/Ezra put together (Wonkblog) is pretty amazing IMHO. Sarah Kliff is flat out wonderful on health care and the ACA. I just like the trend towards long form journalism. Often topics are complex and you need more than 500 words to explain it.

  14. 14
    Booger says:

    NPR put it approximately thus this morning “…Bezos declined to fund the venture,” which of course I heard as “DeKleined,” as in the WaPo was deKleined.

  15. 15
    Cervantes says:

    @NotMax:

    Ezra Klein may be many things, but “cool’ is not one of them.

    Don’t forget JournoList.

    “Cool” is a matter of perspective.

  16. 16
    KCIvey says:

    Glad they haven’t brought in their friend McMegan. Yet.

  17. 17
    Figs says:

    @geg6: This. A thousand times this. I used to read Yglesias regularly, and he’s gotten steadily and reliably less interesting over time. All he needed was another sinecure for which he was vastly underqualified.

  18. 18
    Tommy says:

    @NonyNony: I don’t really disagree with anything you said. For the small amount of money he paid he got the major paper in the nationals capital and maybe a way to present his “new” money as “old money.” But from all the profiles I’ve read on him he is a ruthless business person that will do anything to make a profit.

    I think it could be argued he let his most valuable resource walk out the front door. And as others have said he could have funded Klein’s venture with change he found in his couch.

  19. 19
    Elizabelle says:

    I hope Ezra and company bring some intelligent reporting and rattle the right cages.

    Wish them well.

    Sarah Kliff is a treasure. Her healthcare reporting has seemed accurate.

  20. 20
    Napoleon says:

    @Tommy:

    But from all the profiles I’ve read on him he is a ruthless business person that will do anything to make a profit.

    Isn’t his wealth related to Amazon.com? Have they ever made a profit on a yearly basis (hell, even quarterly basis)?

  21. 21
    Ronnie Pudding says:

    I’m curious to see whether Yglesias continues his community-college-econ-professor schtick, always lecturing us on our lack of respect for markets. I sometimes think that Slate did that too him.

  22. 22
    negative 1 says:

    This is encouraging because it took SBNation about 6 months to be more interesting and far more informative than ESPN.
    I don’t mind Yglesias as much as everyone else does, so I realize I’ll probably be called names for asking but does this mean he’s leaving Slate?

  23. 23
    Tommy says:

    @Napoleon: Well yes and no:

    Revenue was $17.09 billion, the company said on Thursday, up 24 percent and about $400 million more than analysts predicted. But all that volume could not yield a profit. Amazon lost 9 cents a share, or $41 million, just as it had anticipated.

    Investors broke out the Champagne. In after-hours trading, the stock was up $29, or 8 percent, to $361. The stock is up nearly tenfold since 2008.

    He and his investors are making money hand over fists with the stock, but you are correct the company isn’t actually turning a profit. I should have been more clear on that, but alas this seems to me how most tech company (although not Apple) make their owners rich.

  24. 24
    negative 1 says:

    @Ronnie Pudding: No, in my impression of him he’s always kind of been like that. I give him credit for sticking up for the ACA through most of the criticism, and in Slate no less. My opinion of Yglesias is that at least when you disagree with him there’s usually enough substance to disagree, and I don’t really ever get the impression he’s arguing in bad faith. YMMV.

  25. 25
    Napoleon says:

    @Ronnie Pudding:

    I’m curious to see whether Yglesias continues his community-college-econ-professor schtick, always lecturing us on our lack of respect for markets. I sometimes think that Slate did that too him.

    That is what he was hired to cover. The name they gave his blog is “Moneybox: a blog about business and economics”

    I think that tends to cause him to emphasis his neoliberal tendencies which I am sure piss off some and make some think he has changed. I think he really has not but that what he is doing limits his blog in such a way as to make him less interesting to a certain segment.

  26. 26
    Tommy says:

    @negative 1: What SB Nation did is amazing IMHO. They went from kind of a cheesy site(s) that I don’t even think were paying their writers to far better team sports coverage then I can get anyplace else. I mean I am a huge sports guys but at times I need Google open in another tab to just understand all the different stats they use. Heck I’ll send my parents stories on the St. Louis Cardinals and they are like we don’t even understand what they are talking about.

    Maybe there isn’t an audience of 100M for this, but I am sure enough to make money.

  27. 27
    Napoleon says:

    @Tommy:

    I should have been more clear on that, but alas this seems to me how most tech company (although not Apple) make their owners rich.

    I think really that has more to do with American capitalism and our failure to regulate and hold our businessmen to account to actually act in the interest of the companies they run instead of their own personal interest. Read a book like “Railroaded; The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America” about the people who were involved with building the transcontinental railroad (like Sanford, who financed Sanford U) and they are, like most other American businessmen, really not acting in their companies interest (in that book it was an interesting comparison to Canada where the people who extended their railroads were hemmed in in taking advantage of secondary profit making from the railroads, unlike in the US).

  28. 28
    Figs says:

    @Napoleon: The thing that always got me was, what in the world made Yglesias qualified to write a blog about business and economics? He’s got an undergrad degree in philosophy, and he wrote on politics for a while. He’s got stark limitations as a writer, but I think he used to be more interesting before the move to Slate.

  29. 29
    currants says:

    @Figs: Agree 100%. Not just more interesting, but his writing was (marginally) better (not counting spelling).
    ETA: I guess the parentheticals say it all.

  30. 30
    NonyNony says:

    @Tommy:

    He and his investors are making money hand over fists with the stock, but you are correct the company isn’t actually turning a profit.

    And see, this is exactly the way I expect him to use the Post. It will get him power and/or money, but indirectly via the contacts and the backscratching and the invites into the inner circle that come from being the owner of the Post and being able to manipulate that editorial page (that everyone in DC seems to pay attention to).

    But if it makes money it’s going to be “piddling amounts” from his perspective. If the money he used to buy the Post was basically spare change from under his couch cushions, the amount he could reasonable expect to get from it even if it turned insanely profitable is still going to be basically the spare change from under his couch cushions. He’s got other ways of making money indirectly from the Post – as long as it breaks even on paper, and maybe turns a little profit for show and to impress the rubes in DC, he’s probably fine with it.

  31. 31
    MomSense says:

    Well this new project has to be better than the crap that is broadcast on Morning Joe. I mean this morning he compared continuing to discuss the clenis with continuing to discuss the Iraq war.

  32. 32
    Napoleon says:

    @Figs:

    I have wondered the same thing. In a way it is interesting to pick someone who is not a trained economist to avoid, perhaps, group thinking from the profession, though I think it is a subject matter that appears to be so counterintuitive to most people, including a good percentage of those with economic degrees, so maybe that idea does not work in practice.

  33. 33
    Tommy says:

    @NonyNony: I don’t disagree with you. Just a little vote here or there in DC could mean hundreds of millions or billions for him.

  34. 34
    Napoleon says:

    @Napoleon:

    PS, I happen to think Matt Y has done a fairly good job of covering the subject matter, particularly if you grade on a curve with how matters of economics and business are covered by the press. He manages to avoid buying into 95% of the crap others by into, though he still has his maddening neo-liberal tendencies which I consider naïve.

  35. 35
    Tommy says:

    @NonyNony: Oh one other thing. My thinking on this is if I had billions and billions, more money then I could spend in many lifetimes, I’ve always thought I’d like to invest in different ideas, if for no other reason then it would be interesting (even fun) to try to create something new. Say what you will about Ezra but he is popular. If I could find other people like him, give them funding, and let them create something new, that people would enjoy, that might be fun.

    But I totally don’t disagree with you he might be willing to lose millions with the Post and make it up in influence.

  36. 36
    Cervantes says:

    @Tommy:

    Just a little vote here or there in DC could mean hundreds of millions or billions for him.

    As they used to say in Indiana about Dan Quayle’s grandfather, “Never quarrel with a man who buys ink by the barrel.”

  37. 37
    Tommy says:

    @Cervantes: Well I am thinking of two things. (1) an Intenet sales tax or (2) since Amazon.com is a huge hosting service (AWS) the thinking or fear that those firms that pay more deliver their content faster.

  38. 38
    muricafukyea says:

    Bahahah…always get a laugh when Ball Juicers try make predictions. Especically people like “Palin will probably run in 2012” MuckyMux fluffing his favorite professional left wing troll Ezra.

    Still cannot forget the 2 days after the ACA law was passed people like Cole (need I remind you all he was totally against it) were using the temporary speculators drop in healthcare stocks as proof the ACA law was bad.

    I sure hope nobody here is still dumb enough to listen to wr0ng way Cole’s opinions on anything besides his own house pets and what goes good with pork loin.

  39. 39
    Napoleon says:

    @muricafukyea:

    (need I remind you all he was totally against it)

    That is 100% lie. You are completely full of shit.

  40. 40
    catclub says:

    @negative 1: “I don’t mind Yglesias as much as everyone else does”

    I am with you. Yglesias does not jump up and down, but he does point out about many things that are conventionally accepted: “This is the opposite of a market” Zoning, parking, NFL giveaways.

    If he were more shrill he would be more popular.

  41. 41
    NonyNony says:

    @muricafukyea:

    Still cannot forget the 2 days after the ACA law was passed people like Cole (need I remind you all he was totally against it) were using the temporary speculators drop in healthcare stocks as proof the ACA law was bad.

    You’ve got a link to that one, right? Because you wouldn’t be shooting your mouth off without proof.

    I’d like to see it. My recollection was that at that point Cole was mostly posting pics of his pets.

  42. 42
    mike with a mic says:

    @Tommy:

    Even apple is pretty much a stock tiger that doesn’t make anything.

    We don’t make shit anymore. Apple doesn’t make anything really either. Apple is just taking chips from intel, gpus from AMD, RAM, blah blah… it’s all other peoples shit. They don’t make anything. They just slap it together in a manner that looks pretty to sell to their customers.

    Really only a few small companies (such as intel that actually designs the chips) do anything. Then it’s all built in China or Taiwan. Most of our “tech companies” be it apple, amazon, or hp don’t do much. They simply organize it and market it in a way to trick us into buying it, or (in the case of amazon) ship it to us. Our only innovations are largely into convincing people to go into debt buying the same product every year, and finding cheaper ways to deliver it to your front door.

  43. 43
    cokane says:

    Yglesias writing about economics despite have no expertise is not necessarily a problem in of itself. However, the lazy approach Yglesias uses is. Yglesias does not seem to engross himself in the current academic literature nor does he frequently interview experts who could bring some authority or some of this cutting-edge research into his stories. Instead he relies on surveying the latest pop-economics and his own opinions. This is not journalism. And it’s definitely not in line with the solid, real-world reporting Klein, Kliff, and Matthews have done. Yglesias is just a name and a friend, kind of disappointing collaborator for these guys to choose.

  44. 44
    Cervantes says:

    @mike with a mic:

    Apple is just taking chips from intel, gpus from AMD, RAM, blah blah… it’s all other peoples shit. They don’t make anything. They just slap it together in a manner that looks pretty to sell to their customers.

    There are about 500,000,000 iPhones and iPads out there. Guess who designed the processors that power most of them.

  45. 45
    muricafukyea says:

    @Napoleon: This one of your sock puppet handles Cole? Google has a pretty good memory. Not worth my time to go back that far and search all the stupidity

    Cole was on here spewing FDL, DKos, and Griftwald quotes and rants about healthcare reform being a sell out to the insurance companies. Along with most of the other lemmings around here. Around the time the public option got dropped. Go find the posts and get back to me….mmmkay.

  46. 46
    Figs says:

    @cokane: Right. I don’t think it’s necessarily a problem that he doesn’t have a degree in economics. I only mentioned his degree in philosophy as a sort of shorthand; he has no academic experience and also no real world expertise in the subject matter. I don’t understand what about his resume led Slate to think he’d be a good pick for that particular beat.

  47. 47
    Augie says:

    I love Ezra and Matt, (though Dylan Matthews has emerged as my new favorite) so I find this new venture to be very exciting. Both Ezra and Matt were hemmed in by the organizations they worked for (though for entirely different reasons). Their blogging is best when they worked for themselves and they could write about any and all topics, including stuff like pop culture and the NBA, without parental oversight. This is a welcome return to those roots.

  48. 48
    amy c says:

    I’ve linked to Wonkblog probably a thousand times during political discussions over the last couple of years. If someone feels that she doesn’t have a good handle on an issue, or has a vague opinion that the middle route must be the best without anything real to back it up, there is almost always a Wonkblog post that provides actual relevant, comprehensible data. Ezra’s far from perfect, but I give him a lot of credit for that.

    On the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever linked Yglesias’s Moneybox column without some kind of sarcastic comment attached. Maybe his Think Progress blog, but that has been a couple of years gone now. I don’t even dislike Yglesias, really – it just feels like he’s been phoning it in with Moneybox since the first day.

    The overall quality at Wonkblog suggests that Ezra has a knack for hiring and grooming really good people, but Yglesias?

  49. 49
    Zach says:

    Vox was founded by Kos (et. al). It’s based around making content using the software Kos had developed for DailyKos.

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