By Meghan Peters, News Partnerships
In November 2016, when it became clear the future of the Affordable Care Act was in doubt, journalist Sarah Kliff, and members of Vox’s social team wanted to build a community for Americans most impacted by a possible repeal of the law. So they started the Facebook group “What’s Next? A Community for Obamacare Enrollees by Vox.”
Over the next several months, the group of nearly 3,000 members grew and evolved in ways Vox didn’t expect. It became a place where people who didn’t otherwise know each other would debate, engage, commiserate, seek advice, and organize in constructive ways. Kliff was able to use the group to develop sources, engage directly with readers, start in-depth policy book clubs, meet with members in person, and even help field questions for a Facebook Live with President Obama. After months of engaging with the group, Kliff says, “It’s what I always hoped the internet would be.”
With the success of What’s Next, Vox launched a new group for listeners of The Weeds, a policy podcast Kliff hosts with fellow Vox journalists Ezra Klein and Matthew Yglesias. There, the group’s 8,600 members can do deeper dives into policy covered by the show, and the three hosts can interact directly with listeners.
We talked with Kliff as well as Lauren Katz, the Senior Engagement Manager who manages What’s Next?, and Allison Rockey, the Director of Programming, about how the groups have evolved and what observations they’ve had since starting these communities.