Slate (magazine)

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Slate
Slate logo.png
Slate homepage 2013-11-09.png
Web address slate.com
Commercial? Yes
Type of site
Online magazine
Registration Optional for Slate Plus and commenting only (US readers)
Metered paywall (non-US readers)
Owner The Slate Group
Created by Michael Kinsley
Editor Julia Turner
Launched 1996; 26 years ago (1996)
Alexa rank
Decrease 969 (January 2017)[1]
Current status Active

Slate is a left-wing and sometimes far-left[2][3] online news and opinion magazine that covers current affairs, politics, and culture in the United States from a politically correct perspective. It was created in 1996 by former New Republic editor Michael Kinsley under the ownership of Microsoft as part of MSN. On 21 December 2004, it was purchased by The Washington Post Company.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

The main website,[13] which is updated about once per hour, covers arts, culture, sports, and news under an editorial policy of promoting social and political change and re-education. The magazine's board originally claimed to help readers "analyze and understand and interpret the world" with witty and entertaining writing.[14] It has consistently published about 1500 stories per month.[15] Among readers, the site has become notable for restricting user comments to currently "acceptable" viewpoints only, with a consistently increasing emphasis on political correctness. As such, Slate has contributed to the leftward drift of the Overton Window in the 2010s and 2020s.

Slate is known for adopting socially provocative (but always liberal) views, giving rise to the term "Slate Pitches."[16][17][18] It is ad-supported and has been available to read free of charge since 1999, but with restricted access for non-US readers via a metered paywall in 2015.

Background

Slate features regular and semi-regular columns such as Explainer, Moneybox, Spectator, Transport, and Dear Prudence. Many of the articles are short (under 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.[19] However, all such content must be approved at every stage of the writing process for political correctness.

In 1998, Slate introduced a paywall-based business model that attracted up 20,000 subscribers but was abandoned afterwards.[20] A similar subscription model would later be implemented by Slate's independently owned competitor, Salon.com, in April 2001.[21]


In June 2006, on its tenth anniversary, Slate unveiled a redesigned website. In 2007, it introduced Slate V,[22] an online video magazine with content that relates to or expands upon their written articles.[23][24] At the time, it had around 40 full-time editorial staff.[24] The following year, a dedicated ad sales team was created.[25] The site's liberal attitude makes it an attractive venue for politically converging corporations.

In 2012, Slate launched the Slate Book Review, a monthly books section edited by Dan Kois.[26] In 2013, Slate became profitable after preceding years had seen layoffs and falling ad revenues.[14] In 2014, Slate introduced a paywall system called "Slate Plus" offering ad-free podcasts as well as some bonus materials. A year later, it had attracted 9,000 subscribers generating about $500,000 in annual revenue.[20] In June 2015, Slate started moving all content behind a metered paywall for international readers, explaining that "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."[27] At the same time, it was stated that there were no plans for a domestic paywall.[15]

Since 2016 Slate has published many articles critical of Donald Trump and the alt-right political movement. In the 2020s the site has supported various strains of anti-white politics, and strongly promoted transgender ideology.

Reputation for counterintuitive arguments ("Slate pitches")

Since at least 2006,[17] Slate has been known for publishing contrarian pieces arguing against mainstream views about a subject, giving rise to the #slatepitches Twitter hashtag in 2009.[18] 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 explained their success as follows: "Readers want to click on Slate Pitches because they want to know what a writer could possibly say that would support their logic".[28] In 2014, Slate's editor-in-chief Julia Turner acknowledged that 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."[14] These articles do not allow certain concepts to be analyzed in depth that may be considered taboo by liberals, like human biodiversity, the human biodiversity debate, or black on white crime, or politically incorrect theories on gender dysphoria. Such concepts can be mentioned in the articles in order to reject them, however,[29][30] and original counterpoints are often suggested.

Podcasts

According to NiemanLab, Slate has been involved in podcasts "almost from the very beginning" of the medium.[31] Their first podcast offering, released on July 15, 2005,[32] featured selected stories from the site read by Andy Bowers, who had joined Slate after leaving NPR in 2003.[31][33] By June 2012, Slate had expanded their lineup to nineteen podcasts, with Political Gabfest and Culture Gabfest being the most popular.[31] This count had shrunk to fourteen by February 2015, with all receiving six million downloads per month.[33] 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.[31]

  • Amicus – legal commentary
  • Audio Book Club
  • Culture Gabfest
  • Daily Podcast – some of everything
  • DoubleX – women's issues
  • Hang Up and Listen – sports
  • Lexicon Valley – language issues
  • Manners for the Digital Age
  • Mom and Dad Are Fighting – parenting
  • Political Gabfest
  • Spoiler Specials – film discussion
  • The Gist
  • Video Podcast

Slate podcasts have gotten longer over the years. The original Gabfest ran fifteen minutes; by 2012, most ran about 45 minutes.[31]

Notable contributors and their departments

Other recurring features

  • Assessment
  • Books
  • Dear Prudence (advice column)
  • Dispatches
  • Drink
  • Food
  • Foreigners
  • Gaming
  • Science
  • Shopping
  • The Good Word (language)
  • The Movie Club
  • The TV Club

Blogs

  • Behold, Slate's photo blog
  • Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog
  • Crime, a crime blog
  • Future Tense, a technology blog produced as part of a partnership between Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State University
  • Lexicon Valley, a blog about language
  • Moneybox, Slate's business and economics blog
  • Outward, Slate's LGBTQ blog
  • The Eye, a design blog
  • The Vault, Slate's history blog
  • The World, a blog about foreign affairs
  • Wild Things, Slate's animals blog
  • XX Factor, a blog about women's issues. In 2009, it gave rise to Double X, launched by The Slate Group as a separate online magazine about women's topics, edited by Hanna Rosin and Emily Bazelon, which was folded back into a Slate.com section after half a year.[35]

Summary columns

Past notable contributors

Company overview

Key executives

  • Julia Turner (Editor)
  • John Swansburg (Deputy Editor)
  • Lowen Liu (Managing Editor)
  • Allison Benedikt (News Director)
  • Dan Kois (Culture Editor)
  • Keith Hernandez (President)

References

  1. "Slate.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved January 17, 2017. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Arthur Schaper (Nov 17, 2014) https://townhall.com/columnists/arthurschaper/2014/11/17/slates-lefthanded-sleightofhand-n1919908
  3. detailed but subjective review (retrieved July 23, 2017) http://www.truthwiki.org/slate-magazine/
  4. Later renamed the Graham Holdings Company. Since 4 June 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 office in Washington, DC.
  5. "Slate Magazine: Private Company Information - Businessweek". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved July 2, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. IG note: am reducing many WP "wikicruft" semi-relevant items to footnotes for now | 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% in the publishing company, while The Slate Group holds 15%.
  7. "Interview: Jacob Weisberg, Chairman, Slate Group: Breaking Out of the Beltway". CBS News. February 15, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Slate.fr: Jean-Marie Colombani à l'assaut du Web, actualité Tech & Net – Le Point" (in French). Le Point. February 10, 2009. Retrieved April 28, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. In 2011, slate.fr started a separate site covering African news, Slate Afrique, with a Paris-based editorial staff.
  10. "Slate Afrique". VoxEurop. June 20, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. In July 2014, Julia Turner replaced David Plotz, who had been editor of Slate since 2008. Plotz had been the 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.
  12. Plotz, David (July 14, 2014). "David Plotz Says Goodbye". Slate. Retrieved July 14, 2014. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. (ISSN 1091-2339)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Levy, Nicole (September 30, 2014). "Long-serving deputy Julia Turner takes the reins at Slate". Capital New York. Retrieved September 30, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Unlimited FAQ". Slate. Retrieved July 2, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Contrarianism's end?". The Economist. October 19, 2009. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. 17.0 17.1 Weisberg, Jacob (June 19, 2006). "What Makes Slate Slatey?". Slate. 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. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. 18.0 18.1 Coscarelli, Joe (October 23, 2009). "Slate's Contrarian Ways Mocked On Twitter". Mediaite. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Tyranny, The (April 4, 2011). "Slate of Mind: Q&A with David Plotz". Sparksheet. Retrieved April 28, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. 20.0 20.1 Sawers, Paul (June 8, 2015). "Slate slides behind a metered paywall as global readers are asked to pay $5/month". VentureBeat. Retrieved July 2, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |website= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. On November 30, 2005, Slate started a daily feature ”Today's Pictures”, featuring fifteen to twenty photographs from the archive at Magnum Photos that share a common theme. The column also features two flash animated ”Interactive Essays” a month.
  22. "Home". Slate V. Retrieved April 28, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Generally off-topic WP "cruft": In 2011, Slate was nominated for four digital National Magazine Awards 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). In 2013, the magazine was redesigned under the guidance of Design Director Vivian Selbo.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Farhi, Paul (August 24, 2011). "Slate magazine lays off Jack Shafer, Timothy Noah". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved July 12, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |newspaper= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "'Slate' Gets a New Publisher". Adweek. August 27, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Bosman, Julie (March 1, 2012). "Slate to Begin a Monthly Review of Books". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 27, 2013. Retrieved April 28, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |newspaper= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Turner, Julia (June 7, 2015). "Hello, International Reader". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved June 7, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. Goldenberg, Kira (October 16, 2014). "Stop trolling your readers". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved October 16, 2014. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. (Jun 4, 2014) https://www.une.edu/news/2014/david-smith-interviewed-article-slatecom
  30. William Saletan (May 13, 2009) http://www.slate.com/blogs/humannature/2009/05/13/bias_and_biodiversity.html
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 Phelps, Andrew (June 4, 2012). "Slate doubles down on podcasts, courting niche audiences and happy advertisers". Nieman Foundation for Journalism. Retrieved April 28, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. "Slate's Podcasting Guide". Slate. Retrieved August 3, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. 33.0 33.1 Owens, Simon (February 6, 2015). "Slate's podcast audience has tripled in a year, and its bet on audio over video continues to pay off". NiemanLab. Retrieved February 6, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. 34.0 34.1 Yoffe, Emily (2015-11-12). "Don't Call It Closure". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2016-07-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. Stelter, Brian (November 16, 2009). "Double X Is Folded Into Slate Magazine". The New York Times. Retrieved July 12, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links