So what is an explainer news site?

It’s a new breed of internet start-ups that seek to explain the news to people who need it explaining. They follow the success of Nate Silver’s work, separating signal from noise, and seek in part to bring the same back-to-basics approach to all news. There’s Vox – from Ezra Klein – and Silver’s own FiveThirtyEight. And many more on the way.

“We want to create the single greatest resource available for people to understand the issues that are in the news,” added Matt Yglesias, a former Moneybox blogger for Slate who is now Vox’s executive editor.

Isn’t that what all news sites do?

Suppose you don’t know what Nigeria is? Mainstream media has shamefully forgotten to explain it. Where else are you going to learn about it?

So a bit like Wikipedia?

Shhhhhh. This stuff is being produced by some of the finest young minds in American journalism who have realised there is infinite space on the interwebs, so there’s no need to be constrained by the constricting word counts of newspapers like The New York Times.

Isn’t there a danger the writer will look a bit of a clever dick?

Yes. But when you’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on your education that’s mostly the point.

Do they ever explain why the news should matter to me?

No. That’s the old way of looking at news. This is the future: News for the good of your intellect.


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