Jim Bankoff sounded brazen in December 2012 discussing his plan for his little digital publisher Vox Media to someday rival the magazine titan housing The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired and Vogue.
“We look at what Condé Nast did in magazine publishing, and we can do that in digital publishing, meaning scale and quality and value,” the 44-year-old CEO told Forbes, which scoffed at him to “put down that glass.” The network of three sites, the largest of which was sports-focused SB Nation, had only earned an estimated $25 million in revenues.
Less than a year later, SB Nation is busy competing with Grantland, Deadspin, Bleacher Report and ESPN — for which Condé has no equivalent. The Verge is poaching editors from Wired and expanding its editorial mandate far beyond gadget reviews. And Vox’s newly-acquired Curbed network — with its food (Eater), real estate/architecture (Curbed) and fashion (Racked) brands blossoming across North America’s major cities — nips the ankles of numerous glossy magazines that have failed to transition meaningfully to the Web.
But, aside from The Verge’s limited embrace of non-tech news, could Vox add something a little more general interest, like The New Yorker, to its stable?
Enter: Ezra Klein.