Vox remains one of the most interesting experiments in digital journalism , because it’s so very aggressive in stepping away from the “flow” of traditional print news, and into creating “stock” evergreen content for the site.
Their latest experiment saw them spend a week revamping old copy to bring it right up to date. The results are fascinating:
What was interesting — though not completely unexpected — was that no one even seemed to notice that we were flooding the site with previously published content. A lot of the articles were enthusiastically shared by people who had shared them the first time around, too. No one seemed gripped by a sense of deja vu, or, if they were, they didn’t mention it.
Yglesias is right in that it shouldn’t be unexpected – “archive” content often surfaces in sites’ most-read lists. What remains surprising is how little the wider journalism world has got to grips with this idea.
Every single day, genuinely important, wonderfully interesting things happen in the world, and it’s, of course, a core mission of journalists to tell people about them. But lots of important things aren’t new at all, they’re just longstanding patterns, structures, or systems. Even more commonly, some new development causes an issue to get attention or seem more relevant, but once you do start paying attention you see that you’re just looking at one aspect of a longstanding issue — one you’ve written about extensively before.
These are genuinely new thought patterns for journalists used to the daily/weekly/monthly grind of disposable paper objects – but they’re crucial to making the digital transition.