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Key links:
Primary website:
slate.com
Primary Twitter:
@Slate

Slate is an online political and cultural magazine founded in 1996 and currently owned by the Graham Holdings Co.

Slate was launched by former New Republic editor Michael Kinsley and initially owned by Microsoft — one of the first online-only publications founded as part of a major corporation or media outlet.

Much of Slate’s commentary has centered on culture and the arts, as well as political reporting and commentary. It has also produced several regular features aggregating, summarizing, and explaining other news and commentary on the web, such as its Today’s Papers Other Magazines (both of which have been discontinued) and the Slatest roundups and Explainer column. Slate has also been characterized by an irreverent, contrarian tone.

Slate has been described as a transitional link between traditional and new media as well as a successor to the newsweekly’s role as a political and cultural observer.

Slate turned a profit for the first time in 2003, having launched with significant investment from Microsoft but moved toward profitability through an advertising-based model. The site hired its own dedicated sales force for the first time in late 2011.

In 2005, Slate was sold to the Washington Post Co., and in 2008, the Post formed a online subsidiary called The Slate Group, which includes Slate, its video and podcasting outlet Slate V, African American culture magazine The Root and the financial site The Big Money. The Slate Group remained with the Washington Post Co. after the company sold The Washington Post in 2013 and changed its name to the Graham Holdings Co.

In 2009, Slate launched a French edition. In 2010, it launched Slate Labs, a section of the site focused on “experiments in multimedia journalism.” It began emphasizing more frequent daily content in an effort to grow traffic in 2011 and 2012, in conjunction with an increased focus on data analytics and social media.

In 2011, Slate launched a redesigned and expanded version of The Slatest, a news aggregator meant to fill in the gap between breaking news and the magazine’s long-form treatment of stories.

Slate has gone deeper into web video in 2010 and 2011, launching its video Trending News Channel in 2010 and forming a Slate News Channel on YouTube in 2011. It has also been a leader in podcasting, with 19 podcasts averaging more than 1 million monthly downloads as of mid-2012.

Slate instituted a $19.95-per-year subscription fee for much of its content in 1998, then withdrew the paywall the following year after attracting 20,000 subscribers. In 2014, after going 15 years without a paid-content plan outside of mobile apps, Slate introduced a $5-per-month membership model called Slate Plus allowing access to Slate writers and events.

Video

Jacob Weisberg interview at paidContent:

Peers, allies, & competitors:
Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
March 24, 2014 / Justin Ellis
Slate gets into the membership business with Slate Plus — Slate hopes its readers want to become members. This week the site plans to launch Slate Plus for $5 a month or $50 a year. The membership program is something like a modified digital subscription, but not a traditional ...
March 17, 2014 / Caroline O'Donovan
Know which way the wind blows: Journalists need to think more critically about weather maps — Everybody’s talking about the weather. Weather.com is exploding with content, from longform to short docs to clickbait. Gawker just started a weather blog called The Vane. BuzzFeed recently launched BuzzFeed Storm ...
March 4, 2014 / Joshua Benton
On Adele Dazeem, Slate, and editorial ambivalence: “Our readers go low with us, and they go high with us” — If you watched the Oscars Sunday night, you probably saw John Travolta screw up the name of Idina Menzel as “Adele Dazeem”: It got lots of attention online, and Slate jumped on it with The Adele Dazeem Name G...
Feb. 26, 2014 / Justin Ellis
All Alternatives Considered: How Slate thinks a daily podcast can fit into your evening commute — When Slate decided to get into the daily drive-time podcast business, they decided to take a cue from a proven winner: sports radio. At least the public radio version of sports radio: Specifically, they decided to hire N...
Sept. 9, 2013 / Justin Ellis
Public-private partnership: Slate and WBUR team up on a podcast, connecting public radio content to a national audience — As a public radio station, Boston’s WBUR is in the business of audio news and storytelling, so the fact that it’s launched a new show about health care issues shouldn’t be surprising. But it isn’t...

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Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: March 27, 2014.
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Foreign Policy is a magazine and daily website about global politics published by The Slate Group, a division of the Washington Post Co. Foreign Policy, based in Washington, D.C., prints seven issues per year and offers digital subscriptions at the same price. The magazine employs a staff of 30. In early 2009, the magazine relaunched…

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