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Nov. 1, 2018, 11:11 a.m.
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LINK: www.recode.net  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   November 1, 2018

Pour one out for tech and media site Recode (née Re/Code, née AllThingsD): The site, acquired by Vox Media in 2015, is being folded into Vox.com, The Wall Street Journal was first to report Thursday. (Retail site Racked was also folded into Vox.com earlier this year.) But Recode isn’t going away:

Vox Media publisher Melissa Bell said in a memo that Recode would relaunch as a section of Vox.com starting next year. Recode will continue to exist as a brand and business, and Recode’s staff will report to Vox Editor in Chief Lauren Williams, Ms. Bell said.

‘The aim of this relaunch is to create a bigger, bolder Recode, using Vox’s platform, editorial support, and distribution power to amplify Recode’s work,’ Ms. Bell said.

The archives will remain up and no layoffs will happen. The Journal’s Ben Mullin reports that Recode’s traffic is down 50 percent year-on-year, according to comScore (“The site attracted 1.36 million unique visitors in September 2018, a 50% decrease from its audience of 2.77 million unique visitors during the same period the year before”), but “the audience for Recode’s podcasts, newsletters, and conferences has increased over the last year, the Vox Media spokeswoman said.”

I think anyone who’s ever worked for a competing tech website will agree with me: Recode is great and it’s sort of sad to see it change. But tech blogging doesn’t feel the same as it used to and Recode needs to shift with that, Kara Swisher wrote in a post:

[T]imes have changed and the leadership teams at Recode and Vox have recently started a conversation on how technology journalism should look in this new era. And that means doing things differently than has been done in the past.

Why? Because there is almost nothing in our lives that Silicon Valley does not impact anymore, for good and, far too often these days, for ill. Social networks spread discord and hate across our politics, a myriad of addictive devices hook us in and then drive us apart, and new technologies like artificial intelligence, automation and robotics could mean vast changes across our workplace.

That’s why we are shifting our editorial approach to focus writers on pointed narratives rather than simply topics or specific companies. 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. And we will be alert to uncovering the hidden ways that technology is changing everything from geopolitical power balances to personal relationships, even as the owners of those technologies decry responsibility for anything more than increasing engagement…

Let me be clear, for those who enjoy heedless media speculation: The Recode brand remains the same; the Code conferences remain the same; the podcasts remain the same; the television specials we do with MSNBC remain the same. And I am not going anywhere either, because Recode has allowed me — whatever the medium — the great gift of being able to do what journalists are supposed to do. Which is to say, to use an old journalism bromide: Afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.

So, once more into that fantastic breach: Vox explains the news. Recode understands technology and media. Together, with Vox, and through our newsletters, podcasts, videos, television and live events we’ll make the Recode brand stronger and more widely consumed than ever.

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