''Slate'' is a progressive online magazine
that covers current affairs, politics, and culture in the United States. It is known, and sometimes criticized, for having adopted contrarian
views, giving rise to the term "Slate Pitches".
It has a generally liberal
It was created in 1996 by former ''New Republic
'' editor Michael Kinsley
, initially under the ownership of Microsoft
as part of MSN
. In 2004, it was purchased by The Washington Post Company
(later renamed the Graham Holdings Company), and since 2008 has been managed by The Slate Group
, an online publishing entity created by Graham Holdings. ''Slate'' is based in New York City, with an additional office in Washington, D.C.
''Slate'', which is updated throughout the day, covers politics, arts and culture, sports, and news. According to its former editor-in-chief Julia 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.
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.
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
''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.
Reputation for counterintuitive arguments ("Slate pitches")
''Slate'' has been known for publishing contrarian
pieces arguing against commonly held views about a subject, giving rise to the #slatepitches Twitter hashtag
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 podcast
s "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
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 'Slates
business"; the magazine charges more for advertising in its podcasts than in any of its other content.
* ''Amicus'' – legal commentary
* ''Audio Book Club''
* ''Culture Gabfest''
* ''Daily Podcast'' – some of everything
* ''Decoder Ring'' – with Willa Paskin
* ''The Waves'' (formerly ''DoubleX'') – women's issues
* ''Hang Up and Listen'' – sports
* ''Hit Parade'' – pop music history
* ''If Then'' - technology, Silicon Valley, and tech policy
* ''Lexicon Valley'' – language issues
* ''Manners for the Digital Age''
* ''Mom and Dad Are Fighting'' – parenting
* ''Money'' – business and finance
* ''Political Gabfest
* ''Spoiler Specials'' – film discussion
* ''Studio 360
'' – pop culture and the arts, in partnership with Public Radio International
* ''The Gist
* Thirst Aid Kit
* Slow Burn
* ''Video Podcast''
''Slate'' podcasts have gotten longer over the years. The original ''Gabfest'' ran 15 minutes; by 2012, most ran about 45 minutes.
was ''Slate's'' editor from 2002 until his designation as the chairman and editor-in-chief of The Slate Group in 2008. Weisberg's deputy editor David Plotz
then became editor until July 2014,
when he was replaced by Julia Turner
Turner resigned as editor of ''Slate'' in October 2018.
became editor-in-chief on April 1, 2019.
The Washington Post Company's John Alderman is ''Slate''s publisher.
* Lowen Liu (Deputy Editor)
* Josh Levin
* Allison Benedikt (Executive Editor)
* Laura Bennett (Features Director)
* Forrest Wickman (Culture Editor)
* Charlie Kammerer (Chief Revenue Officer)
Notable contributors and departments
* Anne Applebaum
* John Dickerson
* Simon Doonan
* Stefan Fatsis
(Hang Up and Listen)
* Ashley Feinberg
* Daniel Gross
* Fred Kaplan
* Juliet Lapidos
(Books / Explainer / Brow Beat)
* Dahlia Lithwick
* Michael Moran
(Reckoning / Foreign Policy)
* Timothy Noah
* Meghan O'Rourke
(The Highbrow / Grieving)
* Daniel M. Lavery
, since 2015
* Mike Pesca
* Robert Pinsky
* Phil Plait
(Bad Astronomy / Science)
* Ron Rosenbaum
* William Saletan
* Jack Shafer
* Eliot Spitzer
(The Best Policy)
* Mike Steinberger
* Dana Stevens
(Surfergirl through 2005/Movies)
* Seth Stevenson
(Ad Report Card / Well-Traveled)
* James Surowiecki
(The Book Club)
* Leon Neyfakh
* Tom Vanderbilt
* Jacob Weisberg
(The Big Idea)
* Tim Wu
* Emily Yoffe
- until 2015 -, Human Guinea-pig)
* Reihan Salam (Politics)
* Laura Miller (Books and Culture)
* Carl Wilson (Music)
* Emily Bazelon
* Paul Boutin
* Ian Bremmer
* Phil Carter
* David Edelstein
* Franklin Foer
* Sasha Frere-Jones
* Atul Gawande
* Austan Goolsbee
* Robert Lane Greene
* Virginia Heffernan
* David Helvarg
* Christopher Hitchens
* Mickey Kaus
* Paul Krugman
* Steven Landsburg
* Will Leitch
* Farhad Manjoo
* Louis Menand
* David Plotz
* Daniel Radosh
* Bruce Reed
* Jody Rosen
* Herbert Stein
* James Surowiecki
* Julia Turner
* Rob Walker
* David Weigel
* Robert Wright
* Matthew Yglesias
* Fareed Zakaria
Other recurring features
* Dear Prudence (advice column)
* Science Denial
* The Good Word (language)
* The Movie Club
* The TV Club
* ''Behold'', ''Slates photo blog
* ''Brow Beat'', ''Slates 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'', ''Slates business and economics blog
* ''Outward'', ''Slates LGBTQ blog
* ''The Eye'', a design blog
* ''The Vault'', ''Slates history blog
* ''The World'', a blog about foreign affairs
* ''Wild Things'', ''Slates 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.
* Slatest (news aggregator)
Category:Online magazines published in the United States
Category:Magazines established in 1996
Category:Political magazines published in the United States
Category:Cultural magazines published in the United States
Category:Magazines published in New York City
Category:American political websites