May 1, 2014

JAMES TARANTO: If Data Were A Journalist, He’d Work For Ezra Klein.

“Vox.com joins a crowded field of data-driven news sites,” USA Today reported earlier this month on Ezra Klein’s new venture. Maybe “Data” should have been capitalized.

A pair of articles the site published yesterday, one on John Kerry’s diplomatic efforts in the Middle East and one on ObamaCare, demonstrate a glaring deficiency in Vox’s “explanatory” approach to journalism. Both reflect a determined detachment from reality–specifically, from the human element in human affairs.

And that’s not all they’re missing. Yesterday, outgoing Popular Mechanics editor Jim Meigs tweeted incredulity at Vox’s story on economists and the minimum wage: “Wait, that’s your whole story? Just ‘it’s complicated’? No stats? No case studies? How does that help readers?”

Explanatory journalism is hard.