Over the past year, the two of us switched coasts. Kara took up part-time residence in Washington, DC. Ezra moved to Oakland, California. There were personal reasons for those moves, but professional ones, too.
Mark Zuckerberg is writing op-eds begging for regulation. President Donald Trump is summoning Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to Washington to ask why he’s losing followers. Sen. Elizabeth Warren launched her presidential campaign by calling on antitrust regulators to crack Amazon and Apple apart. The Mueller report detailed how Russia used social media platforms and malware to sow chaos in 2016. Journalism has been transformed by social platforms that are absorbing their advertisers and reshaping their audiences. Vicious attacks against Muslim mosques and Jewish synagogues found their beginnings in the dark alleyways of the internet.
The future of technology is a political story. The future of politics is a technological story. If we’re going to understand the changing world around us, the old coverage silos no longer make sense. And so we’re breaking them down. Recode and Vox are joining forces.
Recode has its roots in business journalism, reflecting an era when the story of technology was told through product releases and OS updates, management shifts and turnovers, earnings reports and investment decisions. But its soul has always been the deep expertise and sourcing of its staff, and the skeptical eye it cast on Silicon Valley long before skepticism became fashionable.
Vox has its soul in explanatory journalism, reflecting a recognition that the news is incomprehensible without context. But that context is, increasingly, the decisions made by a handful of companies on the left coast of the United States. To understand the news, you need to understand the firms, figures, and forces of Silicon Valley.
By joining Vox, the lens and ambition of Recode’s journalism will widen. By partnering with Recode, Vox will deepen its ability to explain the news. To that end, we’re thrilled to welcome Samantha Oltman, who joins us from BuzzFeed’s tech team, as our new editor — and to have the likes of Matt Yglesias, Brian Resnick, Emily Stewart, and other Vox staff writers contribute to Recode. And at this year’s Code Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, we’ll be unveiling new ways to read, listen, and work with Recode.
Recode has always prized transparency in its journalism, and so we want to be clear in our values so we can be accountable to you, our readers. We will remain skeptical, infused with the recognition that disruptive technologies unleash unexpected consequences, that the collision between human behavior and complex algorithms never goes precisely as anticipated. We will be alert to the hidden ways technology is changing everything from geopolitical power balances to personal relationships.
But we will also remember that technology can do great good. A new generation of companies pioneering plant-based meats promises a future of cleaner, kinder, and more environmentally friendly food. There is no answer to climate change that doesn’t rely on innovation, no urbanist vision that couldn’t benefit from smarter cities and new models of transportation, no reason to think that the 21st century will not bring remarkable advances in health care and learning. Skepticism demands rigor, not hopelessness.
In all of this, we will be guided by a simple theory: To be managed, technological change first must be understood. And that’s why we’re coming together. Vox explains the news. Recode understands technology and media. Together, as the world can seem ever more senseless, we will try to make sense of it for you.
Recode and Vox have joined forces to uncover and explain how our digital world is changing — and changing us. Subscribe to Recode podcasts to hear Kara Swisher and Peter Kafka lead the tough conversations the technology industry needs today.