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Slate logo.png
Slate screenshot.png
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Online Magazine
Registration Optional for The Fray
Owner The Washington Post Company
Created by Michael Kinsley

Slate is an English-language online current affairs and culture magazine created in 1996 by former New Republic editor Michael Kinsley, initially under the ownership of Microsoft, as part of MSN. On December 21, 2004, it was purchased by the Washington Post Company. Since June 4, 2008, Slate has been managed by The Slate Group, an online publishing entity created by the Washington Post Company to develop and manage web-only magazines.[1]

Since June 2008, David Plotz has served as the editor of Slate.[1][2] He had been the deputy editor to Jacob Weisberg, Slate's editor from 2002 until his designation as the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of The Slate Group.[1] The Washington Post Company's John Alderman is Slate's publisher.[3] Slate (ISSN 1091-2339), which is updated daily, covers politics, arts and culture, sports, and news. It is ad-supported and has been available to read free of charge since 1999.



Slate features regular and semi-regular columns such as Explainer, Chatterbox, and Dear Prudence. Many of the articles tend to be short and relatively lighthearted pieces. There are also many meta-columns: collections and analyses of major newspapers, magazines, and blogs. It has a number of associated blogs, including the well-known Kausfiles. It also features frequent week-long diaries and a link to each day's Doonesbury, whose website is hosted by Slate. Podcasts of several of its columns are also available for download.[4]

Slate used to contribute to the now canceled National Public Radio show Day to Day.

Slate features a set of online forums called "The Fray", the editing and moderator duties of which are left up to a "Fray Editor."

In March 1998, Slate attracted considerable notice by charging a $19.95 annual subscription fee, becoming one of the first sites (outside of pornography and financial news) to attempt a subscription-based business model. The scheme didn't work; in February 1999, Slate returned to free content, citing both sluggish subscription sales and increased advertising revenue. A similar subscription model would later be implemented by Slate's independently-owned competitor,, in April 2001.

On July 15, 2005, Slate began offering a podcast, featuring selected stories from the site read by Slate editor Andy Bowers. This podcast now features regular gabfests, or roundtables, covering various topics. The political gabfest was the first, headed by John Dickerson, Emily Bazelon and David Plotz. Later, a culture gabfest was added. Slate's sister sites the Big Money and DoubleX also have regular roundtables which are available on the podcast. The sports gabfest, hangup and listen, is the most recent addition to the podcast. Another podcast, featuring the Explainer column, was later added, read by Slate foreign editor June Thomas and later Samantha Henig. As of January 9, 2009 (2009 -01-09), the Explainer podcast is on hiatus until further notice, to return "as soon as [its] budget allows."[5] A third, called "Slate's Spoiler Special," reviews movies for people who have already seen them.

In September 2005, Michael Kinsley returned to Slate, writing a weekly column published simultaneously in Slate and the Washington Post.

On November 30, 2005, Slate started a daily feature ”Today's Pictures,” featuring fifteen to twenty photographs from the archive at Magnum Photos that share a common theme. The column also features two flash animated ”Interactive Essays” a month.

In June 2006, on its 10th anniversary, Slate unveiled a redesigned website. In 2007, it introduced "Slate V"[1], an online video magazine with content that relates to or expands upon their written articles.

Editorial stance

Slate's focus and editorial slant is politically liberal, as seen in choice of columnists, choice of and position on topics, and featured cartoon, Doonesbury. During the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign, a significant majority of staff and contributors supported Democratic challenger John Kerry[6], and in 2008, Slate staff overwhelmingly favored Democrat Barack Obama.[7]

Slate includes many voices of the Clintonian / Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) / neoliberal point of view. These include two of its bloggers: Mickey Kaus, whose favorite subjects include welfare reform and the potential for a future candidate from either party to reap major political gains by taking a law-and-order stance on immigration issues; and Bruce Reed, President Clinton's domestic policy adviser, and current president of the DLC. Jack Shafer, one of its top editors, has stated that he has voted for the Libertarian Party candidate for President in every election since he became eligible to vote. (One unusual feature of the magazine is that it explicitly states its staff's biases, going so far as to publish the presidential votes of individual staff members and writers.[8]) Slate frequently publishes columns that advocate a neoclassical view of economics, with articles written by economists such as Steven Landsburg and Tim Harford.

On the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Slate took a "liberal hawk" perspective, as represented in the contributions of Christopher Hitchens, William Saletan and others. Michael Kinsley and Timothy Noah were the only full-time Slate staffers who opposed the invasion, though Noah was briefly persuaded to abandon his relatively dovish position by Colin Powell.[9] [10] In the years since the occupation began, however, the magazine has been increasingly critical of its management, most strongly in Fred Kaplan's "War Stories" column.

Contributors and departments

Other recurring features

  • Books
  • The Book Club
  • Culturebox
  • Dispatches
  • Fashion
  • Foreigners
  • Gaming
  • Shopping
  • The Movie Club
  • Science

Summary Columns:

  • Slatest (news aggregator)
  • Summary Judgement (with NPR's Day to Day)

Other notable contributors


  1. ^ a b c "The Washington Post Company Announces The Slate Group". Washington Post. 2008-06-04.{045B2D64-C0B8-49DE-A0E8-511CC7DE25D0}. Retrieved 2008-06-05.  
  2. ^ Jacob Weisberg (2008-06-04). "David Plotz Succeeds Jacob Weisberg as Slate's Editor". Slate. Retrieved 2008-06-05.  
  3. ^ Who We Are (Slate staff portraits) Accessed April 11, 2008
  4. ^ How to receive Slate podcasts - Slate Magazine
  5. ^ Slate Explainer Podcast (MP3)
  6. ^ Slate Votes. Slate, October 26, 2004
  7. ^ Slate Votes. Slate, October 28, 2008
  8. ^ Slate Votes. Slate, October 26, 2004
  9. ^ Timothy Noah: Chatterbox Goes to War. Slate, February 10, 2003
  10. ^ Michael Kinsley: Unsettled. Slate, April 10, 2003

External links



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