Swati Sharma, a managing editor of The Atlantic, will be the next editor-in-chief of Vox.com, the Vox Media site known for explanatory journalism and podcasts, in a changing of the guard at the pioneering digital outlet nearly three months after two of its founders left and its previous top editor announced her departure.
Sharma, 34, is scheduled to start in her new role next month. She will be taking over the site, which reaches nearly 30 million readers a month, from Lauren Williams, who is starting a nonprofit news outlet for Black communities called Capital B. Williams was also a senior vice president at Vox, and the company is still searching for someone to fill that position.
Sharma, in her last two years at The Atlantic, helped lead the publication’s day-to-day digital coverage. The magazine and its website have added more than 400,000 paid subscribers since September 2019, when The Atlantic started charging readers for online access, thanks to its wide-ranging essays and its news coverage of the presidential race, social unrest and the coronavirus pandemic.
Before joining The Atlantic, Sharma was The Washington Post’s deputy general assignment editor and the digital editor of its international and national security departments. She started her journalism career at The Boston Globe, where she coordinated breaking-news coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Sharma said in an interview that she was not looking to reinvent Vox, which has a staff of roughly 90 newsroom employees. “Vox provides clarity,” she said. “That’s the most important thing we need in our industry and that we can provide readers.
“The work I want to do at Vox with the team in place is figure out how to keep sharpening it, making it more distinctive,” Sharma added.
Melissa Bell, the publisher of Vox Media, the company behind Vox, The Verge, New York Magazine and other publications, issued a statement praising Sharma’s “deep respect for great journalism with a profound understanding for audience needs.”
Founded by Bell, Matthew Yglesias and Ezra Klein in 2014, Vox started with an emphasis on general news and politics. It distinguished itself with its so-called explainers, articles that boiled down complex issues to their essence in clear, often entertaining prose. In 2019, Vox’s areas of coverage expanded when Vox Media folded into it another one of its sites, the business- and tech-focused Recode.
Late last year Yglesias and Klein left Vox — Yglesias to start a subscription newsletter hosted by Substack, and Klein to write opinion pieces and host a podcast for The New York Times.
In 2019, Vox Media acquired New York Magazine and the websites under the New York banner. The move came at the start of a flurry of mergers in the digital media industry, which has run into some of the same problems that have challenged the traditional newspaper business, a series of deals that has included BuzzFeed’s acquisition of HuffPost, Vice Media’s purchase of Refinery29 and Group Nine Media’s addition of PopSugar.
Vox.com’s podcasts include “Today, Explained” and “The Weeds.” The site has also moved into video production, with “Explained” on Netflix and “Glad You Asked,” a YouTube Original, among other shows.