As the election approaches, Vox unites policy and politics under one editor
After Vox.com brought aboard Politico Deputy Managing Editor Laura McGann to run the site's politics coverage, she articulated a vision that married policy coverage with explainers about politics.
“We want to talk about both things at once,” she told Poynter in January. Politics, she added, is the game that's wrapped around the substance of governing, and Vox.com wanted to report on both subjects simultaneously.
A few months later, the newsroom has been reconfigured to facilitate that. McGann, who was formerly politics editor, has been appointed deputy managing editor of policy and politics. She now oversees a hefty portion of the site's reporting and editing corps and reports to co-founder Ezra Klein. Under the new arrangement, McGann is responsible for making sure that the site's cadre of policy and politics reporters work hand and hand as the 2016 presidential election begins to dominate the news agenda.
"We see these two things as interwoven, and we're building our newsroom around that idea," McGann said.
The appointment, which was made official last month, formalizes what was before a loose collaboration between the policy and politics wings at Vox.com. When McGann joined the site, she began working alongside Sarah Kliff, the senior editor responsible for much of the site's policy coverage. But when it became clear that Vox.com was best suited by closer ties between the two teams, Klein merged them. Now, politics and policy writers attend the same meetings and report to one editor for a more tightly knit news report.
McGann says the new structure enables the site's journalists to work in concert when stories require insight in the realms of both policy and politics. By way of example, she cited a recent item that examined 11 defining moments in Hillary Clinton's career, from her commencement speech at Wellesley to her future presidential prospects.
The article, which incorporated policy, politics, interactivity and photographic elements, was the result of a collaboration between multiple writers and editors, including Kliff, Allen, politics reporter Andrew Prokop and content director Max Fisher.
"The nature of having this mega-team made that workable in a way that it wouldn't have under the old system," McGann said. "And it also felt like a natural extension of what we do."
The newsroom reorganization became official around the same time that Bloomberg transplant Jonathan Allen began as chief political correspondent for Vox.com. In addition to Allen, McGann plans to grow to the site's political reporting ranks in advance of the 2016 election. She's currently looking for "a handful" of journalists, including a reporter who will examine the role of gender in the upcoming presidential contest. They will join a few previously-announced hires that began last week, including graphics editor Javier Zarracina, news app developer Soo Oh, deputy culture editor Jen Trolio, shortform editor Margarita Noriega and climate writer Dave Roberts.