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The Outline, an attempt to build a bolder kind of news site, appears to have met its end
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June 3, 2014, 1:02 p.m.
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LINK: www.vox.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joseph Lichterman   |   June 3, 2014

TAP_Logo Over at Vox, Ezra Klein has a piece ruminating on the liberal magazine and website The American Prospect as it considers reducing its print schedule and changing its website. Klein, who got his start at the Prospect’s blog Tapped, writes that it was truly the breeding ground for what we consider modern online policy journalism:

The combination of TAP’s culture and Tapped’s medium created a place where young journalists could go and experiment with policy journalism on the web. And some of those experiments worked. It turned out health-care policy could really appeal to readers. It turned out the internet loved charts. It turned out that policy writing could be short, or even just a link. It turned out that a conversational tone didn’t destroy the writer’s authority. It turned out that blogs benefitted at least as much from diligent reporting as magazine articles. Those experiments now inform journalism in places ranging from the Washington Post and the New York Times to BuzzFeed and Business Insider. Tapped’s style of policy journalism is everywhere now.

As for Vox, well, two of the three founders are Tapped alumni. Without Tapped, there would certainly be no Vox.

Matt Yglesias is the other Vox cofounder who worked at the Prospect, but there other notable digital journalists who are also Prospect alums: Jonathan Chait, Josh Marshall, Jonathan Cohn, Garance Franke-Ruta, Nicholas Confessore.

Despite the long roster of alums, Alyssa Rosenberg at The Washington Post questions whether it was economically feasible for the Prospect to continue to be an incubator-like publication.

Unlike Silicon Valley incubators, which stake young developers for a share of their future profits, the Prospect does not get part of what its alumni earn in the future. An excellent reputation and ongoing goodwill do not necessarily translate into piles of cash.

Instead, being a journalism incubator means spending time and money developing writers who then take their readership to other publications, then starting to develop new voices, new beats and new audiences all over again.

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