The technology news site Recode, which prides itself as offering a skeptical insider’s view of Silicon Valley, will relaunch next year as part of its sister site Vox.com.
Recode Co-Founder Kara Swisher and Vox Media Publisher Melissa Bell positioned the change as a response to technology’s growing influence over all facets of our lives, changing everything from interpersonal relationships to the media landscape to political discourse.
“These are big stories with enormous consequences. They deserve an audience that includes the insiders and obsessives that make up Recode’s core readers along with a broader, much bigger set of readers, to match the many ways that tech coverage has shifted from niche to general-interest,” Swisher wrote in a blog post this morning. “This is a big reason why we’re partnering with Vox: their platform, editorial support, and distribution power will allow us to better amplify our work, expand our mission, and reach a wider audience.”
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The Recode brand will remain, with the same conferences, podcasts and television specials done in partnership with MSNBC. But it’ll be housed at a different address, Vox.com, one that affords wider reach. Vox had an audience of 32 million unique viewers in September, according to comScore.
Recode was among the first of the journalist-led news startups, drafting off the megawatt power of its marquee founders, Swisher and Walt Mossberg, the former Wall Street Journal’s personal technology columnist.
The duo attracted considerable media attention in late 2013, when the Wall Street Journal reported that they would leave Rupert Murdoch’s publishing empire at the end of the year. Recode launched in January 2014 to considerable fanfare in the media world, and was acquired 18 months later by Vox Media.
Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff appeared on stage at the high profile Code Conference to announce the deal (though the news broke before he spoke). At the time, he promised editorial independence for Recode.
“It’s not going to change,” Bankoff said in May of 2015. “It’s going to get better.”
In recent months, Recode has seen its traffic decline, with the departure this year of such high-profile writers as Tony Romm, Edmund Lee and Johana Bhuiyan. Swisher also began contributing opinion pieces for the New York Times.
In September, Recode attracted 1.36 million unique visitors, a 50% drop from its audience of 2.77 million a year ago, according to comScore.
Vox Media said Recode’s editor-in-chief, Dan Frommer, is leaving, with senior editor Jason Del Rey serving as Recode’s interim leader until a new editor is named. The new editor of Recode will report to Ben Pauker, Vox’s managing editor for news.
Kara and Executive Editor Peter Kafka will continue to serve as executive producers of Recode’s Code Conferences.
“Recode is, at its heart, the master of industry news, and has been far ahead of its time in exploring how new technologies are upending everything from media dynamics to interpersonal relationships to political campaigns,” Bell said in a staff memo this morning. “Vox has pioneered an incredibly powerful approach to explaining the most complex topics, and has built large, loyal audiences across mediums and beats – from Netflix shows to policy podcasts. Both teams have some of the best writers, thinkers, and producers in the industry and I’m looking forward to seeing what they build together.”
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