Slated for Success
The battle raged for years. On one side, print media rebuked the Internet's influence on mainline communications. On the other, the Web gained momentum and shifted its rival's core into the 21st century. At issue—how to contend with print and online publishing without sacrificing one for the other? For Slate, the answer came easy: to do both. And as a result, Slate—the magazine—would deliver content on news, politics and popular culture—online.
Founded by Crossfire alum, Michael Kinsley, the magazine's core audience includes business leaders and political pundits, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of non-industry-related readers who log onto Slate every day for ongoing reporting and discussion about not only the nation's prime topics (Cuba, tax cuts and the Oklahoma bombing), but also sometimes quirky current events (i.e., "Minute Maid Makes You Gay! (Happy, That Is), a recent editorial observation by Rob Walker). As a member of the MSN network, it's also not surprising that the online portal spins a customized electronic news feed directly to its tech-savvy users. In fact, Slate is the first Web-based magazine to offer content in e-book form, starting last year when the site published in Microsoft Reader eBook format. Since then, readers have been able to choose what content to download using "MySlate," a customizable page designed with itinerant e-book audiences in mind. Using the print and "e" precedent, Slate published The Slate Diaries, an anthology of the magazine's weekly journals from such contributors as Karinna Gore Schiff and Ira Glass, as well as Jacob Weisberg's The Road to Chadsville: Campaign 2000 as Seen From Cyberspace. Each of the books are available in print and e-form, a first for Slate's audience.
According to Kinsley, Slate's muscle overwhelms the often top-rated Salon.com, which has been in financial trouble for a long time now, suffering lay-offs and parasitic venture capitalists. The battle of the brains, says Kinsley, is all in the numbers. Of course, Slate's being a part of Microsoft's empire is a little like having one's own set of Presidential body guards.