Well, Project X may now be called Vox, but the great VC-backed media blitz of 2014 is staffed up and soft-launching, and it looks a lot more like Projects XY. Indeed, it’s impossible not to notice that in the Bitcoin rush to revolutionize journalism, the protagonists are almost exclusively – and increasingly – male and white.
To be sure, the internet has presented journalists with an extraordinary opportunity to remake their own profession. And the rhetoric of the new wave of creativity in journalism is spattered with words that denote transformation. But the new micro-institutions of journalism already bear the hallmarks of the restrictive heritage they abandoned with such glee. At the risk of being the old bat in the back, allow me to quote Faye Dunaway’s character from Network: “Look, all I’m saying is if you’re going to hustle, at least do it right.”
The newspaper’s latest quirky digital experiment is a Twitter-scaling search bot called @GuardianTagBot, launched in beta last week, which is already getting a warm reception. When someone tweets a few search terms (though just one at a time may work better) at the bot, it tweets back with a link to a list of the latest news stories on the Guardian’s site, making use of the tagging system on the website, to quickly deliver relevant search results on command.