Ezra Klein, co-founder and editor-at-large, is leaving to join the New York Times’ opinion department. Editor-in-chief and SVP Lauren Williams will exit to launch Capital B, a local and national nonprofit news organization serving Black audiences.
Klein said he will join the Times in January, where he’ll pen a column on public policy and host a podcast for the Grey Lady.
“After nearly eight amazing years building, editing, and working at @voxdotcom, I am leaving to join
@nytopinion, writing a reported column on policy and the policymaking process, and hosting an interview podcast,” Klein wrote in a Twitter thread.
“For me, I’ve been managing and building now for more than a decade, going back to Wonkblog. But I’ve been feeling the pull this year to go back to reporting, writing, and podcasting, full-time,” Klein wrote. “That I’ll get to do so at @nytopinion, which I’ve read since I was a kid, is truly a dream.”
Klein noted that he and Williams have led the Vox newsroom “since year one,” and that “For our own reasons, the election felt like the right time for us to step aside, and open space for others to get to do what we did: lead in new directions, and create things we couldn’t imagine.”
Williams, who joined Vox in 2014 and was promoted to EIC in 2017, will be departing in February 2021. She plans to launch Capital B in mid-2021 with her friend Akoto Ofori-Atta, editor and co-host of Sony Music’s “My 90s Playlist” podcast.
“The 6+ years I’ve spent helping to build Vox into what it is today have been the most rewarding of my career. I love Vox, and I love my team,” Williams wrote on Twitter. “There’s only one thing that could compel me to leave: the opportunity to create something I’ve dreamed about for a decade.”
In addition to overseeing Vox.com editorial, Williams has overseen its YouTube channel, more than a dozen podcasts, and Vox’s TV arm, anchored by Netflix franchise “Explained.” She also has led Vox.com’s business operations. Before joining Vox, Williams worked at Mother Jones and TheRoot.com.
Klein, prior to co-founding Vox, which debuted in 2014, was a columnist and editor at the Washington Post, a policy analyst at MSNBC, and a contributor to Bloomberg. He has written for the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books and made appearances on TV shows including “Face the Nation,” “Real Time With Bill Maher” and “The Daily Show.”
In a note to staff, Vox co-founder and publisher Melissa Bell said the site will be filling at least 10 key roles in the next few months. “We’ve begun an extensive search for new leaders to fill Lauren’s responsibilities, which we’re splitting into two roles: a senior vice president, focused on the business side of Vox, and an editor-in-chief role to set the editorial vision for Vox,” she wrote. Vox also expects to hire a staff member to support its contribution program, through which the site solicits donations from readers to “support Vox’s explanatory journalism”; Bell said that has been “one of our biggest — and most successful — experiments in 2020.”
According to Bell, Vox next year is planning to launch its original programming on more over-the-top video channels and “you’ll see our television ambitions grow with partners that include Netflix and YouTube Originals, as well as HBO.” It also has a new slate of podcasts planned for 2021.
“The first year we started Vox, we used to talk about making something that would outlast all of us – an institution of lasting value, an organization that would make its own contributions to the industry, that would become more than we could imagine, that would foster a culture that would create things we couldn’t dream up,” Bell said in the memo. “That’s happened, in part thanks to Lauren and Ezra’s work, and it continues to happen. We are so proud of what Vox is, and we can’t wait to see where the future will take us.”
Last year, Vox Media acquired New York Media in an all-stock deal designed to help both media companies gain synergies and scale. Vox Media, which suffered a revenue drop-off with the COVID pandemic, laid off 7% of its staff this summer.
In addition to Vox, the New York-based company’s brands include New York Magazine, SB Nation, the Verge, Vulture, Polygon, Eater, the Cut and Recode.