Ezra Klein on His New Vox Media Venture -- New York Magazine


Photo: Christopher Anderson/Magnum Photos/New York Magazine

On January 24, at five in the morning after his final day at the ­Washington Post, Ezra Klein awoke in his condo in D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood; sent out his final Wonkbook, the daily policy briefing e-mailed to more than 40,000 subscribers; and flew to California to visit UCLA, his alma mater. It was a Friday, and that evening, a few hundred students had gathered in a campus ballroom to watch two seers of the digital future chat about disruption. Klein was there at the invitation of Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, who was touring college campuses to promote his up-with-innovators book, Without Their Permission.

The event had a whiff of Palo Alto tent revival. As students took their seats, speakers blared EDM. Ohanian took the stage and began a comic spiel that was part entrepreneurial exhortation—the word awesome got heavy rotation—and part crowd-pleasing appeal to generational self-regard. He spoke of “the incumbents” (Silicon Valley–speak for Those to Be Overthrown) and, affecting the Batman villain Bane’s camp baritone, said, “They merely adopted the Internet. We were born in it. Molded by it.” He spoke of “the haters” and “the gatekeepers,” as a LOLCat-style photo was projected on the screen behind him showing a bespectacled granny over the caption WHAT CHANNEL IS THE NETFLIX ON?



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