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

Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

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 10 podcasts led by the Political Gabfest as of 2014.

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 exclusive content as well as access to Slate writers and events.

Video

Jacob Weisberg interview at paidContent:

Peers, allies, & competitors:
Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
Nov. 13, 2018 / Joshua Benton
So some people will pay for a subscription to a news site. How about two? Three? — The path forward for premium media is seemingly clear: Put up a paywall. Digital advertising is a duopoly-dominated mess; any print or broadcast cross-subsidy you might have is declining at one speed or another. Your loy...
Oct. 16, 2018 / Nicholas Quah
“Yelling at her family in public, in your headphones”: Reality TV comes to podcasts — Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 181, published October 16, 2018. The state of Slate. Two seemingly conflicting ideas can be true at the same time. Here’s the first idea, which doubts a li...
June 27, 2018 / Laura Hazard Owen
Slate’s Facebook traffic has dropped by 87 percent since 2017. (Anyone else wanna share numbers?) — American news organizations have been reluctant to share just how badly they’re doing on Facebook now. Anecdotal reports of decreased Facebook traffic trickled out through 2017; then, this past January, Facebook an...
Jan. 30, 2018 / Nicholas Quah
Turns out people really like podcasts after all (and now we have numbers to prove it) — Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 149, published January 30, 2018. One month in. When Apple rolled out its long-awaited in-episode podcast analytics last month, part of the anxiety (and excit...
Jan. 16, 2018 / Nicholas Quah
Who needs video? Slate is pivoting to audio, and making real money doing it — Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 147, published January 16, 2018. We’re heavy on the “new year, new you” beat this week, folks. Slate Outlook. This is a tad newsier and mor...

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Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: May 8, 2014.
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AOL, formerly known as America Online, is a web portal, online content producer, and Internet service provider. AOL owns about 80 websites under various brands, including the tech blogs Engadget and Techcrunch, the financial site DailyFinance and the sports blog network Fanhouse, the tech review site gdgt, and the Huffington Post, as well as the mapping service…

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