Slate is an online magazine that covers current affairs, politics, and culture in the United States from a liberal leftist perspective. It was created in 1996 by former New Republic editor Michael Kinsley, initially under the ownership of Microsoft as part of MSN. On December 21, 2004, it was purchased by The Washington Post Company, later renamed the Graham Holdings Company. Since June 4, 2008, Slate has been managed by The Slate Group, an online publishing entity created by the Graham Holdings Company to develop and manage web-only magazines. Slate is based in New York City, with an additional office in Washington, D.C.
A French version, slate.fr, was launched in February 2009 by a group of four journalists, including Jean-Marie Colombani, Eric Leser, and economist Jacques Attali. Among them, the founders hold 50 percent in the publishing company, while The Slate Group holds 15 percent. In 2011, slate.fr started a separate site covering African news, Slate Afrique, with a Paris-based editorial staff.
Jared Hohlt will become editor-in-chief on April 1, 2019. Julia Turner replaced David Plotz in July 2014 and resigned in October 2018. Plotz had been editor of Slate since 2008 and deputy editor to Jacob Weisberg, Slate's editor from 2002 until his designation as the chairman and editor-in-chief of The Slate Group. The Washington Post Company's John Alderman is Slate's publisher.
Slate, which is updated throughout the day, covers politics, arts and culture, sports, and news. According to Turner, the magazine is "not fundamentally a breaking news source," but rather aimed at helping readers to "analyze and understand and interpret the world" with witty and entertaining writing. As of mid-2015, it publishes about 1,500 stories per month.
Slate is also known (and sometimes criticized) for adopting self-described "left of center" and contrarian views, giving rise to the term "Slate Pitches." It is ad-supported and has been available to read free of charge since 1999, but restricted access for non-US readers via a metered paywall in 2015.
Type of site
|Owner||The Slate Group|
|Created by||Michael Kinsley|
|Alexa rank||1348 (June 2018)|
|Registration||Optional for Slate Plus and commenting only (US readers)|
Metered paywall (non-US readers)
Slate features regular and semi-regular columns such as Explainer, Moneybox, Spectator, Transport, and Dear Prudence. Many of the articles are short (less than 2,000 words) and argument-driven. Around 2010, the magazine also began running long-form journalism. Many of the longer stories are an outgrowth of the "Fresca Fellowships", so-called because former editor Plotz liked the soft drink Fresca. "The idea is that every writer and editor on staff has to spend a month or six weeks a year not doing their regular job, but instead working on a long, ambitious project of some sort," Plotz said in an interview.
Slate introduced a paywall-based business model in 1998 that attracted up 20,000 subscribers but was later abandoned. A similar subscription model was implemented in April 2001 by Slate's independently owned competitor, Salon.com.
Slate started a daily feature ”Today's Pictures” on November 30, 2005, which featured 15-20 photographs from the archive at Magnum Photos that share a common theme. The column also features two flash animated ”Interactive Essays” a month.
On its 10th anniversary, Slate unveiled a redesigned website. It introduced Slate V in 2007, an online video magazine with content that relates to or expands upon their written articles. In 2013, the magazine was redesigned under the guidance of Design Director Vivian Selbo.
Slate was nominated for four digital National Magazine Awards in 2011 and won the NMA for General Excellence. In the same year, the magazine laid off several high-profile journalists, including co-founder Jack Shafer and Timothy Noah (author of the Chatterbox column). At the time, it had around 40 full-time editorial staff. The following year, a dedicated ad sales team was created.
Slate launched the "Slate Book Review" in 2012, a monthly books section edited by Dan Kois.
The next year, Slate became profitable after preceding years had seen layoffs and falling ad revenues.
In 2014, Slate introduced a paywall system called "Slate Plus," offering ad-free podcasts and bonus materials. A year later, it had attracted 9,000 subscribers generating about $500,000 in annual revenue.
Slate moved all content behind a metered paywall for international readers in June 2015, explaining "our U.S.-based sales team sells primarily to domestic advertisers, many of whom only want to reach a domestic audience. ...The end result is that, outside the United States, we are not covering our costs." At the same time, it was stated that there were no plans for a domestic paywall.
Slate's articles have presented news and opinions from a liberal perspective, eventually evolving into a self-proclaimed liberal news site. However, the website claims that writers use factual evidence to back up their claims.
Since 2006, Slate has been known for publishing contrarian pieces arguing against commonly held views about a subject, giving rise to the #slatepitches Twitter hashtag in 2009. The Columbia Journalism Review has defined Slate pitches as "an idea that sounds wrong or counterintuitive proposed as though it were the tightest logic ever," and in explaining its success wrote "Readers want to click on Slate Pitches because they want to know what a writer could possibly say that would support their logic".
In 2014, Slate's then editor-in-chief Julia Turner acknowledged a reputation for counterintuitive arguments forms part of Slate's "distinctive" brand, but argued that the hashtag misrepresents the site's journalism. "We are not looking to argue that up is down and black is white for the sake of being contrarian against all logic or intellectual rigor. But journalism is more interesting when it surprises you either with the conclusions that it reaches or the ways that it reaches them."
In a 2019 article for the site, Slate contributor Daniel Engber reflected on the changes that had occurred on the site since he started writing for it 15 years previously. He suggested that its original worldview, influenced by its founder Kinsley and described by Engber as "feisty, surprising, debate-club centrist-by-default" and "liberal contrarianism", had shifted towards "a more reliable, left-wing slant", whilst still giving space for heterodox opinions, albeit "tempered by other, graver duties". He argued that this was necessary within the context of a "Manichean age of flagrant cruelty and corruption", although he also acknowledged that it could be "a troubling limitation".
According to NiemanLab, Slate has been involved in podcasts "almost from the very beginning" of the medium. Its first podcast offering, released on July 15, 2005, featured selected stories from the site read by Andy Bowers, who had joined Slate after leaving NPR in 2003. By June 2012, Slate had expanded their lineup to 19 podcasts, with Political Gabfest and Culture Gabfest being the most popular. This count had shrunk to 14 by February 2015, with all receiving six million downloads per month. The podcasts are "a profitable part of [Slate's] business"; the magazine charges more for advertising in its podcasts than in any of its other content.
Slate podcasts have gotten longer over the years. The original Gabfest ran 15 minutes; by 2012, most ran about 45 minutes.
To be a Slatey writer, you must cut through the media welter [...] This can be done in a number of ways. [One] is to make the contrarian case that all the common assumptions about a subject are simply and hopelessly wrong.
Dahlia Lithwick is a Canadian-American writer and journalist. Lithwick is currently a contributing editor at Newsweek and senior editor at Slate. She primarily writes about law and politics in the United States. She writes "Supreme Court Dispatches" and "Jurisprudence" and has covered the Microsoft trial and other legal issues for Slate. In 2018, the Sidney Hillman Foundation awarded Lithwick with the Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism noting that she "has been the nation's best legal commentator for two decades".Before joining Slate as a freelancer in 1999, Lithwick worked for a family law firm in Reno, Nevada. Her published work has appeared in The New Republic, The American Prospect, ELLE, The Ottawa Citizen, and The Washington Post.Dana Stevens (critic)
Dana Shawn Stevens (born June 30, 1966) is a movie critic at Slate. She is also a cohost of the magazine's weekly cultural podcast, the Culture Gabfest. She is working on a book about Buster Keaton and the 20th century.David Auerbach
David Auerbach is an American writer with a background in software engineering. He has written on a variety of subjects, including social issues and popular culture, the environment, computer games and literature.David Weigel
David Weigel (born September 26, 1981) is an American journalist. Since 2015, he has worked for The Washington Post. Weigel previously covered politics for Slate and Bloomberg Politics and was a contributing editor for Reason magazine.Edward Jay Epstein
Edward Jay Epstein (born 1935) is an American investigative journalist and a former political science professor at Harvard, UCLA, and MIT.Farhad Manjoo
Farhad Manjoo (born August 19, 1978) is an American journalist and author. Manjoo was a staff writer for Slate magazine from 2008 to 2013 and left Slate in September 2013 to join The Wall Street Journal as a technology columnist. In January 2014, Manjoo became the "State of the Art" columnist for The New York Times, replacing David Pogue. He has been a contributor to National Public Radio since 2009.Fred Kaplan (journalist)
Fred M. Kaplan (born July 4, 1954) is an American author and journalist. His weekly "War Stories" column for Slate magazine covers international relations and U.S. foreign policy. He has no relation to the American journalist Robert D. Kaplan.Jack Shafer
Jack Shafer (born November 14, 1957) is an American journalist who writes about media for Politico. Prior to joining Politico, he worked for Reuters and also edited and wrote the column "Press Box" for Slate, an online magazine. Before his stay at Slate, Shafer edited two city weeklies, Washington City Paper and SF Weekly. Much of Shafer's writing focuses on what he sees as a lack of precision and rigor in reporting by the mainstream media, which he says "thinks its duty is to keep you cowering in fright." One frequent topic is media coverage of the War on Drugs.Jacob Weisberg
Jacob Weisberg (born 1964) is an American political journalist, who previously served as editor-in-chief of Slate Group, a division of Graham Holdings Company. In September 2018, Weisberg left Slate to co-found Pushkin Industries, an audio content company, with Malcolm Gladwell. Weisberg is also a Newsweek columnist. He served as the editor of Slate magazine for six years, until stepping down in June 2008. He is the son of Lois Weisberg, a Chicago social activist and municipal commissioner.Jody Rosen
Jody Rosen (born June 21, 1969 in New York City) is an American journalist and author. He is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine. He previously served as critic-at-large for T: The New York Times Style Magazine, pop music critic for New York, music critic for Slate, and senior critic for Rolling Stone, and has written for such publications as The New Yorker and Entertainment Weekly. He is the author of White Christmas: The Story of an American Song.John Dickerson (journalist)
John Frederick Dickerson (born July 6, 1968) is an American journalist. He is a co-host of CBS This Morning along with Norah O'Donnell, Gayle King and Bianna Golodryga. Previously he was the host of Face the Nation on CBS News, the political director of CBS News, chief Washington correspondent for CBS News, and a political columnist for Slate magazine.
Before hosting Face the Nation, he was the longtime chief political correspondent at Slate. Before joining Slate, Dickerson covered politics at Time magazine for 12 years, serving the last four years as its White House correspondent.Karenna Gore
Karenna Aitcheson Gore (born August 6, 1973), formerly known as Karenna Schiff, is an American author and journalist. She is the eldest daughter of former Vice President of the United States Al Gore and Tipper Gore and the sister of Kristin Gore, Sarah Gore Maiani and Albert Gore. Gore is the director of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary.Michael Kinsley
Michael Kinsley (born March 9, 1951) is an American political journalist and commentator. Primarily active in print media as both a writer and editor, he also became known to television audiences as a co-host on Crossfire. Kinsley has been a notable participant in the mainstream media's development of online content.Mike Pesca
Mike Pesca (born December 29, 1971) is an American radio journalist and podcaster based in New York City. He is the host of Slate magazine's daily podcast, The Gist, and the editor of Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History.Panoply Media
Panoply Media is a podcast network
started by The Slate Group.
For listeners, it curates podcasts. For podcast producers, it helps companies with production, advertising, and audience metrics.
As of February 2017, Panoply publishes more than 100 podcasts.
Panoply partners with Sports Illustrated, The Huffington Post, New York magazine, Time, Inc., Vox, Real Simple, The Wall Street Journal, and Politico. It has signed with William Morris Endeavor for future projects to adapt its podcasts for other media. It has produced branded content for Purina, Umpqua Bank, Prudential and Starbucks.In September 2018, it was announced that Panoply would cease production of all podcasts and shut down its editorial division in order to focus on podcast hosting, analytics, and monetization technology.Robert Pinsky
Robert Pinsky (born October 20, 1940) is an American poet, essayist, literary critic, and translator. From 1997 to 2000, he served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. Pinsky is the author of nineteen books, most of which are collections of his poetry. His published work also includes critically acclaimed translations, including The Inferno of Dante Alighieri and The Separate Notebooks by Czesław Miłosz. He teaches at Boston University.Tim Wu
Tim Wu is an American lawyer, professor at Columbia Law School, and contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. He is best known for coining the phrase network neutrality in his 2003 paper Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination, and popularizing the concept thereafter. Wu has also made significant contributions to antitrust policy and wireless communications policy, most notably with his "Carterfone" proposal.Wu is a scholar of the media and technology industries, and his academic specialties include antitrust, copyright, and telecommunications law. Wu was named to The National Law Journal's "America's 100 Most Influential Lawyers" in 2013, as well as to the "Politico 50" in 2014 and 2015. Additionally, Wu was named one of Scientific American's 50 people of the year in 2006, and one of Harvard University's 100 most influential graduates by 02138 magazine in 2007. His book The Master Switch was named among the best books of 2010 by The New Yorker magazine, Fortune magazine, Publishers Weekly, and other publications.
From 2011 to 2012, Wu served as a Senior Advisor to the Federal Trade Commission, and from 2015–2016 he was senior enforcement counsel at the New York Office of the Attorney General, where he launched a successful lawsuit against Time-Warner cable for falsely advertising their broadband speeds. In 2016 Wu joined the National Economic Council in the Obama White House to work on competition policy.Timothy Noah
Timothy Robert Noah (born 1958) is an American journalist and author. He is currently the labor policy editor for Politico. Previously he was a contributing writer at MSNBC.com, and before that he was a senior editor of The New Republic, where he wrote the "TRB From Washington" column, and a senior writer at Slate, where for a decade he wrote the "Chatterbox" column. In April 2012 Noah published a book, The Great Divergence, about income inequality in the United States.William Saletan
William Saletan is a writer and the national correspondent at Slate.com.
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