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Jan. 30, 2013, 10:39 a.m.

Press Publish 4: Trei Brundrett on how Vox Media has built a web-native media company with editorial ambition

Vox’s VP for product and technology talks about the importance of community, the value of long features, and the role of sponsored content.

It’s Episode 4 of Press Publish, the Nieman Lab podcast! My guest this week is Trei Brundrett, the VP for product and technology at Vox Media.

Vox is the publisher of the sports site SB Nation, the tech site The Verge, and video game site Polygon, and it’s one of my very favorite online media companies. I love that they’re ambitious on content — building a quality mix of short and long, user-generated and pro-generated, aggregated and original — and that they’re ambitious on technology. And they make money. To me, Vox feels like one of a very few online media companies that is both native to the web and invested in some traditional values about quality. They’re worth watching, even if you have no interest at all in sports, tech, or video games.

Trei started out in the world of politics and helped build SB Nation to the point that it could evolve into Vox. When Adweek named him to its Adweek 50 (“the people who make the machinery of media, marketing and technology hum”), this is what they said about him:

Under Brundrett’s direction, Vox Media has evolved into one of the most agile Web-based publishers. Building a proprietary content management platform, his technology powers the journalists of The Verge, Polygon and over 300 SB Nation fan-created media properties. Focused on functional and design-rich technology, Brundrett and Vox have pushed past conventional Web design with efforts such as StoryStream, which populates a writer’s updates in real time to provide an organized and intuitive history of complex breaking news.

We had a good, wide-ranging conversation about Vox’s evolution and where it’s headed in 2013. Give it a listen, and I hope (if you haven’t already) you’ll subscribe to Press Publish in the podcast app of your choice.


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Show notes

@clockwerks, Trei on Twitter
Trei’s resume
Vox Media
SB Nation, Vox’s sports site
The Verge, Vox’s tech site
Polygon, Vox’s gaming site
Vox Media 2012 By the Numbers (185 employees; 389,692 pieces of content; 35,412,480 comments)
Chorus, Vox Media’s proprietary backend
Vox Media’s product team blog
Markos Moulitsas
Jerome Armstrong
Tyler Bleszinski
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)
Ryan Gantz
Daily Kos
Daily Kos’ diaries
Trei in an Astros hat
Scoop CMS
Rusty Foster
“For once, Nick Denton seems pleased with Gawker’s commenting system”
Canal Street Chronicles, an example of a SB Nation community site
Jim Bankoff, Vox CEO
Content management systems
Nieman Lab stories on Jim Bankoff and Vox
An example of a SB Nation player page
An example of a Verge product page
An example of a Polygon game page
An example of The Verge’s product comparison tool
The Verge’s features page
Vox Product blog: “An inside peek into the Polygon design process”
An example of a templated, less-“designed” feature: “After Aaron: how an antiquated law enables the government’s war on hackers, activists, and you”
An example of a more designed feature: “For Amusement Only: the life and death of the American arcade
An example of a Verge review (of the iPad mini)
Source’s interview with Vox staff on building the arcades feature
A few videos from Vox Studios, Vox’s “in-house creative and production group” that does work for both editorial and business-side
An episode of “90 Seconds on The Verge,” the site’s daily video briefing
An episode of “On The Verge,” the site’s late-night-talk-show-style program, hosted by Josh Topolsky, with example of an integrated sponsorship from Ford (go to 45:50)
The New York Times’ Snow Fall package
An example of a SB Nation Storystream, on the Pro Bowl
SB Nation United, the site’s recent rebranding and visual unification
The Atlantic’s Scientology sponsored-content snafu
SB Nation’s Marines sponsored-content package
SB Nation user SDCat09, who has left 227,399 comments (at this writing)
“How We Moderate Here On SB Nation”
The Verge iPhone app
Editable comments
The Verge’s iPad mini liveblog
An example of a Vox review that’s been revised over time

Photo by @nivshah used under a Creative Commons license.

POSTED     Jan. 30, 2013, 10:39 a.m.
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