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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Salon website logo.svg screenshot.png
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Online Magazine
Registration Optional
Owner Salon Media Group
Launched 1995, part of Salon Media Group (OTCBB: SLNM), often just called Salon, is an online magazine, with content updated each weekday. Salon was founded by David Talbot as one of the internet's first online publications. American liberal politics is its major focus, but it covers a range of issues. Reviews and articles about music, books and films are also a prominent feature of the site. Salon's headquarters are located west of downtown San Francisco, California. Its current editor-in-chief is Joan Walsh.


Content and coverage

Salon magazine covers a variety of topics. It has reviews and articles about music, books, and films. It also has articles about "modern life", including relationships, friendships and sex. It covers technology, with a particular focus on the free software/open source movement.

Salon has always been an interactive site to some degree. The "salon" concept is played out in two discussion board communities open exclusively to online subscribers, Salon Table Talk and The WELL, and since 2005, comments on editorial stories open to all readers.

In 2008, Salon launched it's biggest interactive initiative, Media:Open Salon, a social content site/blog network for its readers.

Responding to the question "how far do you go with the tabloid sensibility to get readers?", former editor-in-chief David Talbot said:

Is Salon more tabloid-like? Yeah, we've made no secret of that. I've said all along that our formula here is that we're a smart tabloid. If by tabloid what you mean is you're trying to reach a popular audience, trying to write topics that are viscerally important to a readership, whether it's the story about the mother in Houston who drowned her five children or the story on the missing intern in Washington, Chandra Levy.[1]

Key people

Regular contributors include the political writers Glenn Greenwald and Mike Madden; investigative reporter Mark Benjamin; critics Laura Miller, Heather Havrilesky, Stephanie Zacharek and Andrew O'Hehir; columnist Garrison Keillor; aviation columnist Patrick Smith, culture critic Camille Paglia; feminist writer Rebecca Traister; advice columnist Cary Tennis, and cartoonists Tom Tomorrow, author of This Modern World; Ruben Bolling, author of Tom the Dancing Bug, Keith Knight, author of The K Chronicles, and Carol Lay, author of WayLay."

David Talbot was the founder and original editor-in-chief. Richard Gingras is the CEO. Joan Walsh is the editor-in-chief. Kerry Lauerman is Salon's executive editor. Gail Williams manages the The WELL. Norman Blashka is the CFO and VP of Operations.


Salon was first published in 1995.

In April 1999, Salon purchased the virtual community The WELL. On June 22, 1999, made an initial public offering on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

On April 25, 2001, Salon launched Salon Premium, a pay-to-view (online) content subscription. Salon Premium signed over 130,000 subscribers and staved off discontinuation of services.

On November 13, 2002, the company announced it had accumulated cash and non-cash losses of $80 million. By February 2003 it was having difficulty paying its rent, and made an appeal for donations to keep the company running.

On October 9, 2003, Michael O'Donnell, the chief executive and president of Salon Media Group, said he was leaving the company after seven years because it was "time for a change." When he left, had accrued $83.6 million in losses since its inception, and its stock traded for 5¢ on the OTC Bulletin Board. David Talbot, Salon's chairman and editor-in-chief at the time, became the new chief executive. Elizabeth "Betsy" Hambrecht, then Salon's chief financial officer, became the president.

In July 2008, Salon launched Open Salon, a "social content site" and "curated blog network"[2]. It was nominated for a 2009 National Magazine Award.[3] in the category "best interactive feature."

Business model and operations

Aspects of the site offerings, ordered by advancing date:

  • Free content, around 15 new articles posted per-day, revenues wholly derived from in-page advertisements.
    • Per-day new content was reduced for a time.
  • Salon Premium subscription. Approximately 20% of new content made available to subscribers only. Other subscription benefits included free magazines and ad-free viewing. Larger, more conspicuous ad units introduced for non-subscribers.
  • A hybrid subscription model. Readers now can read content by viewing a 15-second full screen advertisement to earn a "day pass" or gain access by subscribing to Salon Premium.

Books published

  • Peri, Camille (editor), Moses, Kate (editor). Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood (2000). ISBN 0-671-77468-9
  • Miller, Laura (editor). The Salon.Com Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors (2000). ISBN 0-14-028088-X
  • George, Don (editor). Wanderlust: Real-Life Tales of Adventures and Romance (2001). ISBN 0333905024
  • Sweeney, Jennifer Foote (editor). Life As We Know It: A Collection of Personal Essays from (2003). ISBN 978-0743476867
  • Leibovich, Lori (editor). Maybe Baby: 28 Writers Tell the Truth About Skepticism, Infertility, Baby Lust, Childlessness, Ambivalence, and How They Made the Biggest Decision of Their Lives (2006). ISBN 0-06-073781-6
  • Tennis, Cary. Since you asked (2007). ISBN 978-0979327001

Tracy Quan's novels Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl and Diary of a Married Call Girl: A Nancy Chan Novel continue the story begun in the Salon series Nancy Chan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl.


External links

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