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After purchase, Re/code gets Vox’s secret weapon

Nova Safo May 27, 2015
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In purchasing the tech news site Re/code, Vox Media is adding to its portfolio of news sites — and giving Re/code access to its “secret weapon.”

Much has been made of Vox’s content management system, Chorus. Most online news outfits have systems that are chaotic behind the scenes thanks to decades of updates and adjustments, says newspaper industry analyst Ken Doctor.

“Endless meetings, endless investments and endless years go by in trying to transform legacy companies to being what are essentially digital-first companies” to limited success, Doctor says.

Vox basically skipped all of this. It was born digital, and it built its Chorus publishing system for the digital age. The system allows for an integrated publishing of photos, text, tweets, links and other elements all processed quickly and seamlessly. It is all aimed at creating in-depth stories quickly and getting them online.

“Chorus is a killer technology,” Doctor says. “It is that understanding that technology is the core of the new business.”

“It’s a kind of leap ahead of where a great many organizations, especially legacy organizations, are,” says Rick Edmunds, media business analyst at the Poynter Institute.

Vox has also adapted that same technology to make it easier to target ads. And that’s an area where the news industry lags.

“The print advertising dollar has continued to decline,” says Amy Mitchell, head of journalism research at the Pew Center. “Digital has grown a bit, but it’s not been able to keep up with the decline that’s being seen in print.”

Doctor says that’s where Vox’s Chorus technology could teach news organizations how to sing a new tune.

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