“The idea that these digital-native publication were somehow going to destroy what came before them was always ridiculous,” he said.
The departures of Mr. Klein and Ms. Williams come as a blow for Vox Media, which has made big bets on boldface names in journalism. In addition, Matthew Yglesias, another co-founder of Vox.com, announced his departure this week, to start a newsletter at Substack, a subscription platform. In his return to blogging, Mr. Yglesias has weighed in on a possible Biden cabinet, the Disney+ show “The Mandalorian” and why McDonald’s puts pickle slices on the burgers included in Happy Meals.
The tech reporter Casey Newton left The Verge, Vox Media’s technology site, this year to start his own Substack newsletter. Kara Swisher, another Vox Media star, remains part of the company, but joined The Times as an opinion columnist in 2018 and this year has started hosting a Times podcast, “Sway.” She still manages the annual Code Conference, which is owned by Vox Media. (I used to work for Ms. Swisher and was an employee of Vox Media.)
Last year, Vox Media acquired New York Magazine in a deal that signaled the start of a consolidation wave in digital media. Several high-profile mergers followed shortly thereafter: Vice Media bought Refinery29; Group Nine merged with PopSugar; and on Thursday, BuzzFeed announced its purchase of HuffPost.
Jim Bankoff, the Vox Media chief executive, said the company was now in a position to withstand the loss of key employees. “All the Vox Media brands are well past the point where they are about individuals,” he said in an interview. “By themselves, each site is a massive, mainstream, modern media brand that touches tens if not hundreds of millions of people across every conceivable platform.”
He said several Vox sites, including The Verge and Eater, continued to grow after their founders had left. And he suggested that Vox Media may get bigger.
“In a consolidating market, we’re going to act strategically,” he said. “We look forward to any opportunities as they come up in 2021.”