Bell hopes to be able to provide such context at any point in a story, no matter if it is text or multimedia. Toward that end, for text, Vox staffers are currently testing out the functionality of yellow highlights, which takes readers to the appropriate card in the appropriate stack for more detail with just a click. For example, Klein’s piece about size discrimination in the US—told through the example of Chris Christie being lampooned for his weight—highlights the phrase “Christie’s scandals” and leads specifically to a card on Bridgegate.


Other ways sites have experimented with this type of feature include the bio and slideshows that appear on the side of the story each time a character is introduced in The New York Times interactive Snow Fall, or by way of a sidebar of context about country history the way the BBC provides next to most articles like this one.

If well-designed, this combination of literacy-oriented architecture and curation could help to inform those general readers who want to be able to share what they learn from the news not just on social media, but in good-old conversations. “There are people who know a great deal about Ukraine but everyone around them is talking about Sterling,” Bell says. “So how can they access that information about Sterling that will help them be informed?”

Funding for this coverage is provided by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

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Jihii Jolly is a freelance journalist and video producer in New York City