‘X'-tra: Another New News Site to Cover Education

By Mark Walsh — February 27, 2014 2 min read
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There is another new journalism venture on the horizon that will be covering education. And it has hired away a top education reporter from Politico Pro Education, which itself debuted as a journalistic flavor of the month just a half-year ago.

Project X is the working title of the enterprise being led by Ezra Klein, who in January left The Washington Post, where he was in charge of Wonkblog, an economics and domestic-policy site that has its own small staff.

Project X is part of Vox Media, a New York City- and Washington-based publisher of Web sites devoted to sports (SB Nation), technology (The Verge), shopping and fashion (Racked), and others. The new venture will be “a user’s guide to the news produced by the beat reporters and subject area experts who know it best,” the site says.

A few days ago, Klein announced the hiring of Libby A. Nelson from Politico Pro Education, the subscription policy site that also offers the free Morning Education newsletter.

“The amazing @libbyanelson will be joining us from Politico to cover education,” Klein tweeted on Feb. 21. “I have never seen someone so excited about higher-ed regs.”

Nelson, who was a reporter for Insider Higher Ed before joining Politico last year, responded to an e-mail query from me about her move.

“My decision to join Project X is about helping create something new and exciting, and about having the chance to develop a sweeping national education beat for a general audience —which could truly be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said.

“I see leaving Politico Pro as a very unfortunate but of course inevitable side effect,” Nelson added. “I’ve learned a ton here, am incredibly proud of the work we do every day for its speed, accuracy, and depth, and love and respect my talented, hardworking colleagues.”

Klein, who is 29, explained in a recent profile in New York magazine his theory that traditional news sources focus on the new at the expense of context.

“When you’re trying to come up with a good approach to reporting on the bleeding edge of where the conversation’s moving, you’re just leaving a lot of people who aren’t on the bleeding edge of that conversation out,” Klein told New York.

Klein talks about “persistent content” and frequently updated explainers, things that could be helpful in reporting on a complex and slow-moving story such as education.

A jobs page for Project X says the new site will cover “everything from tax policy to [the HBO series] ‘True Detective,’ but instead of letting that reporting gather dust in an archive, we’ll use it to build and continuously update a comprehensive set of explainers of the topics we cover. We want to create the single best resources for news consumers anywhere.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.