Slate (magazine)

Last updated
Slate new logo.png
Slate homepage 2013-11-09.png
Type of site
Online magazine
Owner The Slate Group
Created by Michael Kinsley
Editorposition vacant [1]
Alexa rankDecrease2.svg 1348 (June 2018) [2]
RegistrationOptional for Slate Plus and commenting only (US readers)
Metered paywall (non-US readers)
Launched1996;23 years ago (1996)
Current statusActive
ISSN 1090-6584  (print)
1091-2339  (web)
OCLC  number 728292344

Slate is an online magazine that covers current affairs, politics, and culture in the United States from a liberal leftist perspective. [3] [4] It was 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, later renamed the Graham Holdings Company. Since June 4, 2008, Slate has been managed by The Slate Group, an online publishing entity created by the Graham Holdings Company to develop and manage web-only magazines. Slate is based in New York City, with an additional office in Washington, D.C. [5]

<i>The New Republic</i> magazine

The New Republic is an American magazine of commentary on politics and the arts, published since 1914, with influence on American political and cultural thinking. Founded in 1914 by leaders of the progressive movement, it attempted to find a balance between a humanitarian progressivism and an intellectual scientism, ultimately discarding the latter. Through the 1980s and '90s, the magazine incorporated elements of "Third Way" neoliberalism and conservatism.

Michael Kinsley is an American political journalist and commentator. Primarily active in print media as both a writer and editor, he also became known to television audiences as a co-host on Crossfire. Kinsley has been a notable participant in the mainstream media's development of online content.

Microsoft U.S.-headquartered technology company

Microsoft Corporation (MS) is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, the Microsoft Office suite, and the Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers. Its flagship hardware products are the Xbox video game consoles and the Microsoft Surface lineup of touchscreen personal computers. As of 2016, it is the world's largest software maker by revenue, and one of the world's most valuable companies. The word "Microsoft" is a portmanteau of "microcomputer" and "software". Microsoft is ranked No. 30 in the 2018 Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.


A French version,, 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. [6] [7] In 2011, started a separate site covering African news, Slate Afrique, with a Paris-based editorial staff. [8]

Jean-Marie Colombani is a French journalist, and was the editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper Le Monde from 1994 until 2007.

Jacques Attali French economist

Jacques Attali is a French economic and social theorist, writer, political adviser and senior civil servant, who served as a counselor to President François Mitterrand from 1981 to 1991 and was the first head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 1991-1993. In 1997, upon the request of education minister Claude Allègre, he proposed a reform of the higher education degrees system. In 2008-2010, he led the government committee on how to ignite the growth of the French economy, under President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Jared Hohlt will become editor-in-chief on April 1, 2019. [9] Julia Turner replaced David Plotz in July 2014 and resigned in October 2018. [1] Plotz had been editor of Slate since 2008 [10] and deputy editor to Jacob Weisberg, Slate's editor from 2002 until his designation as the chairman and editor-in-chief of The Slate Group. The Washington Post Company's John Alderman is Slate's publisher.

Jared Hohlt is an American writer and magazine editor. He was named editor of Slate magazine in March, 2019.

Julia Turner is an American journalist and critic. She is Deputy Managing Editor of the Los Angeles Times from 2018 and a co-host of the Slate Culture Gabfest podcast. She was previously the editor-in-chief of online magazine Slate from 2014 to 2018.

David Plotz American journalist

David Plotz is an American journalist and current CEO of Atlas Obscura, an online magazine devoted to discovery and exploration. A writer with Slate since its inception in 1996, Plotz was the online magazine's editor from June 2008 until July 2014, succeeding Jacob Weisberg.

Slate, which is updated throughout the day, covers politics, arts and culture, sports, and news. According to 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. [11] As of mid-2015, it publishes about 1,500 stories per month. [12]

Slate is also known (and sometimes criticized) for adopting self-described "left of center" [13] and contrarian views, giving rise to the term "Slate Pitches." [14] [15] [16] 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 in 2015.

American Left

The American Left has consisted of a broad range of individuals and groups that have sought fundamental egalitarian changes in the economic, political, and cultural institutions of the United States. Leftist activists in the United States have been credited with advancing social change on issues such as labor and civil rights, as well as providing critiques of capitalism.

A contrarian is a person that takes up a contrary position, especially a position that is opposed to that of the majority.


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. [17]

Dear Prudence is an advice column appearing several times weekly in the online magazine Slate and syndicated to over 200 newspapers.

Fresca branded diet citrus soft drink

Fresca is a diet grapefruit citrus soft drink made by The Coca-Cola Company. Borrowing the word Fresca from Spanish, it was first introduced in the United States in 1966.

Slate introduced a paywall-based business model in 1998 that attracted up 20,000 subscribers but was later abandoned. [18] A similar subscription model was implemented in April 2001 by Slate's independently owned competitor,

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.

The design of Slate's homepage from 2006 to 2013 Slate screenshot.png
The design of Slate's homepage from 2006 to 2013

On its 10th anniversary, Slate unveiled a redesigned website. It introduced Slate V in 2007, [19] 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). [20] At the time, it had around 40 full-time editorial staff. [20] The following year, a dedicated ad sales team was created. [21]

Slate launched the "Slate Book Review" in 2012, a monthly books section edited by Dan Kois. [22]

The next year, Slate became profitable after preceding years had seen layoffs and falling ad revenues. [11]

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. [18]

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." [23] At the same time, it was stated that there were no plans for a domestic paywall. [12]

Slate's articles have presented news and opinions from a liberal perspective, eventually evolving into a self-proclaimed liberal news site. However, the website claims that writers use factual evidence to back up their claims.

Reputation for counterintuitive arguments ("Slate pitches")

Since 2006, [15] Slate has been known for publishing contrarian pieces arguing against commonly held views about a subject, giving rise to the #slatepitches Twitter hashtag in 2009. [16] 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". [24]

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." [11]

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". [25]


According to NiemanLab, Slate has been involved in podcasts "almost from the very beginning" of the medium. [26] Its first podcast offering, released on July 15, 2005, [27] featured selected stories from the site read by Andy Bowers, who had joined Slate after leaving NPR in 2003. [26] [28] By June 2012, Slate had expanded their lineup to 19 podcasts, with Political Gabfest and Culture Gabfest being the most popular. [26] This count had shrunk to 14 by February 2015, with all receiving six million downloads per month. [28] The podcasts are "a profitable part of [Slate's] business"; the magazine charges more for advertising in its podcasts than in any of its other content. [26]

Slate podcasts have gotten longer over the years. The original Gabfest ran 15 minutes; by 2012, most ran about 45 minutes. [26]

Notable contributors and their departments

Other recurring features


Summary columns

Past notable contributors

Company overview

Key executives


Related Research Articles

<i>The Atlantic</i> Magazine and multi-platform publisher based in Washington, D.C.

The Atlantic is an American magazine and multi-platform publisher.

<i>The Australian</i> daily newspaper in Australia

The Australian is a broadsheet newspaper published in Australia from Monday to Saturday each week since 14 July 1964, and is the country's most circulated nationally distributed newspaper, available in each state and territory. It rivals with other nationally distributed newspapers like the business-focused Australian Financial Review and The Saturday Paper. The Australian is owned by News Corp Australia.

Daniel Radosh is an American journalist and blogger. Radosh is a senior writer for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Previously, he was a staff writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and a contributing editor at The Week. He writes occasionally for The New Yorker. His writing has also appeared in Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, GQ, Mademoiselle, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Might, New York Magazine, The New York Times, Playboy, Radar, Salon, Slate, and other publications. From 2000 to 2001, he was a senior editor for Modern Humorist. In the 1990s he was a writer and editor at Spy. Radosh began his writing career at Youth Communication in 1985, where as a high school student he published more than a dozen stories in New Youth Connections, a magazine by and for New York City teenagers.

<i>Arkansas Times</i> newspaper in Little Rock, Arkansas

Arkansas Times, a weekly alternative newspaper based in Little Rock, Arkansas, is a publication that has circulated more than 40 years, originally as a magazine.

<i>Washington City Paper</i> newspaper in Washington, D.C., District of Columbia

The Washington City Paper is a U.S. alternative weekly newspaper serving the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The City Paper is distributed on Thursdays; its average circulation in 2006 was 85,588. The paper's editorial mix is focused on local news and arts. 2018 circulation is 47,000.

Mike Pesca American radio correspondent

Mike Pesca is an American radio journalist and podcaster based in New York City. He is the host of Slate magazine's daily podcast, The Gist, and the editor of Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History.

A paywall is a method of restricting access to content via a paid subscription. Beginning in the mid-2010s, newspapers started implementing paywalls on their websites as a way to increase revenue after years of decline in paid print readership and advertising revenue. In academics, research papers are often subject to a paywall and are available via academic libraries that subscribe.

Virginia Heffernan American journalist

Virginia Heffernan is an American journalist and cultural critic. She worked as a staff writer for The New York Times — first as a TV critic, then as a magazine columnist, and then as an opinion writer. She has also worked as a senior editor for Harper's, as a founding editor of Talk, and as a TV critic for Slate. Her 2016 book Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art argued that the Internet is a "massive and collective work of art", one that is a "work in progress", and that the suggested deterioration of attention spans in response to it is a myth.

The Georgetown Voice is the student-run biweekly campus news magazine at Georgetown University. It has a circulation of approximately 1,000 and prints an edition every other Friday, as well as maintains a daily online presence.

Dana Shawn Stevens is a movie critic at Slate. She is also a cohost of the magazine's weekly cultural podcast, the Culture Gabfest. She is working on a book about Buster Keaton and the 20th century.

Stephen Metcalf (writer) American journalist

Stephen Metcalf is a critic-at-large and columnist at Slate magazine. He is also the host of the magazine's weekly cultural podcast the Culture Gabfest.

The Slate Political Gabfest is an American political podcast by Slate magazine that covers topics on current politics and issues.

Daniel Mallory Ortberg American humorist and advice columnist

Daniel Mallory Ortberg is an American author and editor. He co-founded the website The Toast and has written the books Texts from Jane Eyre (2014) and The Merry Spinster (2018) as well as Slate's "Dear Prudence" advice column. He also hosts the "Dear Prudence" podcast.

<i>Vox</i> (website) American news and opinion website owned by Vox Media

Vox is an American news and opinion website owned by Vox Media. The website was founded in April 2014 by Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias and Melissa Bell, and is noted for its concept of explanatory journalism.

Panoply Media is a podcast network started by The Slate Group. For listeners, it curates podcasts. For podcast producers, it helps companies with production, advertising, and audience metrics. As of February 2017, Panoply publishes more than 100 podcasts.

Political podcast

Political podcasts are podcasts that focus on contemporary politics and current events. Most political podcasts maintain a connection with an existing media source such as a newspaper or magazine. They aim to inform or entertain or advocate a cause, usually for progressive causes, although there are some conservative podcasts. They are often cost-effective to produce, requiring minimal computer technology to operate. Their audiences are generally persons in interested in current events, and programs usually have a duration of a half hour to an hour.

Andy Bowers is an American radio journalist and podcaster, and is the co-founder and chief content officer of Panoply Media, a podcasting production and services company owned by The Slate Group. After working as a White House and foreign correspondent for NPR during the 1990s, Bowers joined Slate in 2003, and founded the magazine's podcasts in 2005. The growth of the Slate podcasting network led the magazine's parent company to create Panoply in 2015.


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