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Media Microsoft

Washington Post Buys Slate From Microsoft 156

securitas writes "The Washington Post has bought online magazine Slate from Microsoft for an undisclosed sum believed to be in the millions of dollars. The sale comes almost five months after Microsoft put Slate on the block (Slashdot) in late July. If you're looking for a perspective from someone other than Slate's editor Jacob Weisberg, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz writes about the sale: 'According to ComScore Media Metrix, washingtonpost.com drew 4.5 million unique visitors last month, while Slate drew 4.8 million.' David Carr reports in the New York Times that Neilsen NetRatings recorded 6 million Slate visitors last month. Either way, Slate's audience is larger than the Post's online edition. You can learn more about the deal from AP via IHT or get streaming audio at NPR (Real|Windows Media)."
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Washington Post Buys Slate From Microsoft

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    There are still some them hippies there at slate. Fox News needs to buy em. People might figure out George W. don't know what he doin.
  • 'why would one modern company buy something so low-tech from a tech company, of all people?'

    Then my mind saw those funky slate 'newspapers' from the Flintstones...

    *shudders*
    • Bedrock's "Daily Slab" was actually one of the great papers of its time. Far from being "funky," the Slab was a respected bastion of "hard news" until it was eventually bought out by Bill Gatestone the popularizer (although not the inventor) of the abacus.

      • Hehe. "Hard news"

        For those who don't know much journalism terminology, "Hard news" refers to strictly objective, factual stories. As opposed to "features," which are essentially reviews of a person, place, thing, event, etc., or "editorials," which reflect the opinion of the writer. (Or the opinion of the person who told him what to write.)
    • My immediate thought is, fire all the Slate staff, keep the 4.8 million visitors + 4.5 million existing visitors = 9.3 million visitors for the same price as one site alone!

      Consolidation is the key to democracy. It's why the Muslims hate our freedom.
      • While I'm sure its quite possible that this has been thought of by a room full of pointy hairs, isn't it the current Slate staff who are what all those 4.8 million visitors read? Okay, maybe there are a bunch of non creative staff who could be replaced, but its the people who write the columns that keep the people coming back. Change them, and you change the style, and soon they'll lose almost all those gains.

        Thankfully it seems that there are no plans for large scale retrenchments.
  • Who reads Slate (Score:3, Interesting)

    by upsidedown_duck ( 788782 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2004 @12:50AM (#11156001)

    I could never accept that Slate had genuine editorial independence from Microsoft. It's like MSNBC, Newsweek (I think), MSN, etc. that are all owned or influenced my Microsoft, and it's all very likely part of a grand marketing strategy.

    Microsoft putting their brand on something is like a poison pill for credibility.
    • Re:Who reads Slate (Score:5, Informative)

      by rawket.scientist ( 812855 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2004 @01:06AM (#11156078)
      I could never accept that Slate had genuine editorial independence from Microsoft.

      Slate did recommend Firefox over IE [msn.com].
    • Dude, do you even read Slate?
      I do occasionally, and they do indeed have independance from Microsoft, often even recommending a competitor's product.
      • Re:Who reads Slate (Score:3, Informative)

        by catbutt ( 469582 )
        Back in 97 or 98, when the Microsoft trial was in full swing, Slate had the best (and funniest) daily reports from the trial. It made microsoft and their lawyers look like utter fools.
    • Re:Who reads Slate (Score:3, Interesting)

      by aengblom ( 123492 )
      I could never accept that Slate had genuine editorial independence from Microsoft.

      And yet Slate does and did have that independence. Perhaps one should judge a book by it's content and not its cover.

      P.S. Newsweek is actually owned by The Washington Post Co.. MSNBC.com does provide the online site for the magazine, but it controls no content -- except the occasional online exclusive multimedia production.
      • Perhaps one should judge a book by it's content and not its cover.

        I prefer to follow the money.

        • Re:Who reads Slate (Score:5, Informative)

          by aengblom ( 123492 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2004 @01:23AM (#11156163) Homepage
          I don't mean to say you shouldn't be aware of the issue (Slate makes it pretty clear they they are owned by Microsoft), but that you should actually think for yourself.

          Make a decision based on the reality and not your assumptions. Hell Slate endorsed Firefox just a few months ago and it bashed a big huge Washington Post series this week. (And this has been expected for months.)
    • Just the kind of uninformed reply I'd expect from a Slashdotter who has his head up Tux's ass.

    • Re:Who reads Slate (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mrklin ( 608689 )
      I could never accept that Slate had genuine editorial independence from Microsoft.

      Can you accept that OSS/GPL/Linux/OS X users can form indepent opinions about OSS/GPL/Linux/OS X or Microsoft?

      Another factual correction: Newsweek is not own by Microsoft. And rather than throwing baseless accusation on how Newsweek is influenced by Microsoft? Any evidence?

      • Any evidence?

        A while ago I picked up a copy of Newsweek and it had that MSN Butterfly everywhere. There was a disturbing number of Microsoft advertisements in that magazine. Way out of proportion to other advertisers. Someone above mentioned that MSNBC provides content to Newsweek's website. There is definitely some collaboration between the two.

        Microsoft is known for astroturfing, false advertising, lying, overcharging, extortion, you name it. How should I place any faith in anything they touch? T
    • by akratic ( 770961 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2004 @01:55AM (#11156268)

      Who reads Slate? I do...obsessively. Some reasons why:

      • Dahlia Lithwick's blow-by-blow accounts of Supreme Court arguments provide much more detail and insight than you'll find in a newspaper. Take a look at this report on the medicinal marijuana case [slate.com].
      • "Explainers" provide interesting background information on recent news, such as this article on dioxin poisoning [slate.com], published after the recent events in the Ukraine.
      • Their editorials and analyses are both carefully thought out and bolder than what you'll typically see in print--sometimes to the point of being a bit disturbing, like this article advocating "minimally invasive" interrogation techniques. [slate.com] (For the record, I don't agree with this article, but I found it thought-provoking.)

      Slate isn't a substitute for reading a newspaper, but if you want to get more insight into what's going on, it's a good place to look.

      • by prockcore ( 543967 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2004 @03:20AM (#11156555)
        I read slate for 4 reasons.

        Cagle's political cartoon agregator. I can read 50 different political cartoons in about 10 minutes.

        Explainer is awesome.. it actually addresses the questions that most paper's gloss over (like that story about Insulin usage in the olympics.. Explainer was the only place I'd seen that actually explained *why* athletes would even want to use insulin)

        In Today's Papers is a great way to see what the lead stories are in the washington post, nytimes, latimes, and other places.

        Ad watch.. reviewing television ads.. brilliant!

    • > I could never accept that Slate had genuine editorial independence from Microsoft.

      I shied away from it for a long time for that very reason, but now I check it regularly. I especially like their daily summary of what's in the major papers.


    • I could never accept that Slate had genuine editorial independence from Microsoft.
      thats because their editorial independance isnt written in stone... :-P




      its a joke ppl, laugh!
  • pro linux? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by datadriven ( 699893 )
    Didn't slate run a pro-linux story a while back? ... Coincidence, I think not.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      By doing so, they lost credibility with the mature crowd. Microsoft is a serious business, not a tabloid outlet.
    • Not sure about pro-linux but i'm pretty sure Slate did a pro-firefox story a while ago.
  • Next... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 22, 2004 @12:55AM (#11156017)
    According to the next forthcoming story by ComScore Media Metrix, Slate drew over 9.6 million unique visitors this month... after the site being mentioned on slashdot'
    • Re:Next... (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That depends. From what I can gather Comscore Media Metrix is salesman code for "Marketscore spyware".

      If it is using Marketscore spyware to work this out then they really only have a certain percentage of the population stupid enough to use thier spyware and thier figures are reached by extrapolating what they do know over a large population. How many /. users do you think would be infected by Marketscore as opposed to the general public.

      I hate Comscore.

      I really do.
    • Heh!
      Doubt it thought.
      Slate's readership is much larger than Slashdot's.
  • Instant hipness? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hawthorne01 ( 575586 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2004 @12:55AM (#11156018)
    Sorry, Washington Post, but buying Slate does NOT mean you get the "New Media", anymore than Pathfinder meant that Time-Warner got it. The citizen-journalists of the blogsphere are where journalism is heading. There's a million fact-checkers out there, and the Old Media better wake up to it, or be cast aside.
    • by aengblom ( 123492 )
      Just by that statement it's clear you're buying right into that same allusion that Time Warner ran into. There is no "old media." Newspapers, magazines, television, radio. They're still around.

      Yes, the bloggers are "new" and they're having some influence, but conduct a survey of most news oriented bloggers and I'll lay odds you'll find they're the biggest readers on the mainstream media out there.

      The WashPost is no straggler in the online world. They have lots of figure out, but they're far ahead of all b
      • "...you're buying right into that same allusion that Time Warner ran into."

        I hesitate to count the number of mixed metaphors in that statement, but I believe the word you meant to use is "illusion."
      • by Anonymous Coward
        There is no "old media." Newspapers, magazines, television, radio. They're still around.

        Sure, they're still around.. but I work for a newspaper, and there is definitely a digital divide. Few in the newsroom think our website is even worth keeping up-to-date.

        We wanted them to classify stories based on content, to make it easier to search online, and to dynamically build interesting sections. No one "gets it" in the newsroom. They still classify stories based on the section their beat runs in. Their m
    • by miu ( 626917 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2004 @01:22AM (#11156156) Homepage Journal
      There's a million fact-checkers out there

      The old media is nearly useless these days - corrupt and driven by greed, spin and fear. I don't have any faith in new media though because the truth doesn't naturally win out - the story that is accepted is that which has the best presentation and most nearly matches what the hearer wants to be true.

      • Re:Instant hipness? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Wednesday December 22, 2004 @01:42AM (#11156226)
        The old media is nearly useless these days - corrupt and driven by greed, spin and fear.

        You neglect to mention that bloggers are just as greedy, full of spin, and willing to be either for the "fear" or diametrically opposed to it.

        I don't have any faith in new media though because the truth doesn't naturally win out - the story that is accepted is that which has the best presentation and most nearly matches what the hearer wants to be true.

        Sorry but I just don't trust the bloggers at all. Most of the time they are full of shit and break "stories" that are nothing more than trash.

        I read "new media" with a grain of salt and pour over stories from several outlets. After that you might get a better representation of what actually happened before it was filtered through the various outlets (including the government).
        • Re:Instant hipness? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by miu ( 626917 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2004 @02:29AM (#11156400) Homepage Journal
          Maybe I didn't make it clear that I don't trust the bloggers either. A "citizen journalist" has none of the restraints of the traditional journalists profession, because of that they can feel completely justified in using deceit and logical fallacies to convince their audience. I don't think of it quite so much as "everyone can be a reporter and fact checker" as "everyone can be a propagandist and shill".
          • I'm not certain modern journalism has many of the restraints of traditional journalism, either--hence the popularity of the new media. Since the old media are turning into propagandists and shills, we all might as well be.
            • I think the real damage that has been done to old media news sources is a result of turning news into entertainment. The rot really set in when "Inside Edition" and the like became popular in the late 80s - from that point on the news format gossip program continually edged out actual news. Now commentators and pundits like Moore, Hannity, Franken, and Coulter can assume the mantle of journalism for the credibility, but claim they are entertainment if anyone uses attempts to use facts or logic on them.

              Wha

    • Surely that post must be parody. I mean, "citizen-journalists of the blogsphere".
    • "anymore than Pathfinder meant that Time-Warner got it."

      What does Time-Warner have to do with Martian rovers?
    • There's a million fact-checkers out there, and the Old Media better wake up to it, or be cast aside.

      Actually, I'd say that there's a half-million people who say one thing is true, and another half-million who say the opposite is true. The whole Michael Moore bit, in which Moore and his supporters swear up and down that what they say is true (and I believe them by the way), and Moore himself posts what amounts to his notes on his website, and his opponents do a like amount of swearing that it's not, and c
    • Jesus, I thought I was the only one that remembered Pathfinder. For those that don't know, Pathfinder was Time-Warner's attempt to create a service similar to AOL or CompuServe's portals, but on the web without a dial-up service. This was before they got swallowed up by AOL, way back in the early 90's. Apparently, they decided to lump everything owned by them under the "Pathfinder" name, from CNN to Loony Tunes to Babylon 5. It was a disaster, from most accounts.

      I was a regular on their Babylon 5 forum, an
      • Ahem, excuse me while I find my walker. FIRST BBS?!?!
        These web-form posting thingies might be called bbs's by young and culturally deprived, but they are NOT bbs's.
        BBS were each an independant computer system you called each seperately and quickly plugged in the modem (actually later on modems & terminal software had the ability to actually dial the numbers themselves!) and connected at 300baud, or 2400 if you were rich and lucky. This is of course assuming you didn't get a busy signal (by the
        • The closest you got to email back then was some bbs programs could call each other at some specific time of night and exchange messages, if you were lucky it only took just over 24 hours to get a reply.

          Ah yes, FidoNet. [fidonet.org] I must say I never got any SPAM on FidoNet.

          The BBS craze began with hackers eager to receive neat utilities and games, and the best way to receive is to give. Membership was usually free. A primitive forerunner of BitTorrent.

          The BBS scene really blossomed with the introduction of adult

          • Yeah I miss those days, to tell the truth I didn't use fido's much. just a couple of local wwiv boards, some color64 boards, and of course the mtabbs systems (a local thing, not more than 10 of them ever running that I know of, part of a cs students bs degree work from rolla, ran on a 'trash 80' mkIII).
            More of a community back then it seems. but I suppose simular communities have sprung up on the web somwhere, just don't seem as tight as when it was mostly people in the same area code.

            Mcyroft
        • BBS's were a lot of fun in many ways far more interesting then using the Internet. in BBS's the community was tight compared to the Internet. You saw someones handle from BBS to BBS you knew it was the same person. But on the Internet there are probably thousands of other people using my handle. Also due to the fact that BBSs were all a telephone call away you usually meet people within a 20-30 mile radius of you. The Internet you are lucky if it is the same state.
          • One of the reasons I liked the mtabbs (Mikes Totally Awsome BBS) boards was from some of the get-togethers we had.
            On guy who looked like yoga guru in his fifties who could outskate (roller not inline or other) most anyone at the skate rink and rebuilt old mini's and baby mainframes as a hobby, the really cute girl that was Mikes sister (I think she was Mikes little sister, eigther that or one of the other sysops) one short, overweight, punk-rock bible thumper type (the nice type, not the shove it in y
    • "The citizen-journalists of the blogsphere are where journalism is heading. There's a million fact-checkers out there, and the Old Media better wake up to it, or be cast aside."

      But how much content in the blogsphere can really be taken seriously. Most of it reminds me of talk radio in that it's all slanted to one side or another, with little actual news (you know, that objective stuff with facts and useful analysis) to be found.

      Show me one blog site that comes anywhere near Slate in regard to professi

  • by dominion ( 3153 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2004 @12:55AM (#11156019) Homepage
    If you're looking for a perspective from someone other than Slate's editor Jacob Weisberg, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz writes about the sale

    In other news, if you're looking for a different perspective on the two party system and it's ramifications for a healthy democracy other than Republican George Bush, here's Democrat John Kerry.
  • Slate? (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Wow someone buying something of Microsoft's for once...is that breaking the rules?
  • by homeobocks ( 744469 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2004 @01:04AM (#11156068)
    I guess Microsoft is tired of their magazine supporting Firefox.
  • washingtonpost.com drew 4.5 million unique visitors last month, while Slate drew 4.8 million....Either way, Slate's audience is larger than the Post's online edition.

    And how much of that slate traffic is caused because slate is so tied in to MSN which is the default startpage for 90% of the home computer market?

    I have a strong suspicion that if slate is divorced from MS, its readership will decline drastically.
  • Either way, Slate's audience is larger than the Post's online edition.

    Well, sort of. Slate's audience may be bigger in terms of "unique vistors," but washingtonpost.com recieves many more hits / page views for each visitor.
    • Source?

      The Fray [msn.com] is one the biggest draws of Slate.
      It has more posts than other online site on the web that I know of.
      I can't imagine anyone spending more time on Washington Post than on the 'The Fray'.
      • Well the difference is less dramatic than I thought -- I admitedly wasn't thinking of the Fray --, but accoring to Nielsen [editorandpublisher.com], washingtonpost.com had a half million lead in overall audience and nearing triple the time spent per visitor. The unique visitors numbers are obviously are somewhat opposed to the article's figures, but that's web traffic stats for you.

        I'm a reader of both Slate and WashingtonPost.com and the fact that Slate competes with the traffice of an entire newspaper with a huge staff is quite
  • good for the WP (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jonpublic ( 676412 )
    i find slate extremely helpful, between the explainers to todays papers. some of it can be quite silly, but the majority of the content is excellent stuff. i've been checking out the washington post lately because of slate. they have quite a bit of helpful information that you don't find anywhere else, and they seem to carry full stories. if i want to find out what is actually going on and the motivations for that, i read the post. hopefully they can bring more of that to slate and slate can give them a big
  • Wasn't Slate the MS owned magazine that was writing bad reviews about IE or something like that?
  • Slate, Salon, etc have all been displaced by blogs which are a much better venue for partisan punditry.
  • This is cool (Score:4, Informative)

    by sQuEeDeN ( 565589 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2004 @01:28AM (#11156183)
    To be honest, I really like Slate. Read it every day. They are really quite independent, like when they bashed IE. This might be quite a non-news item, ultimately (I hope)
  • I am regular visitor to Cagle.slate.msn.com [msn.com]

    I wonder what is going to happen to this political cartoon site.
    There is no mention of Cagle in the news media.
  • by Trespass ( 225077 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2004 @02:27AM (#11156390) Homepage
    ...and they want their paper of record back.
  • No, the windchill factor is a unique phenomenon known to man. The effect of wind on the body's perception of temperature is intangible yet shared by all human beings. Pretty interesting stuff.
  • by Caseyscrib ( 728790 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2004 @02:48AM (#11156449)
    I'm curious as to how many visitors independent news sites get, including sites like slashdot, fark, democracynow, kuro5hin, etc. Is it anywhere close to the 4.5-4.8 million slate and Washington post get, or do most people just think "getting their news online" means going to cnn.com?
    • Slashdot gets roughly half a million unique visitors a day.

      Of those, maybe 10% actually read the article. We've been slashdotted many times (our site has always fared well against the traffic, we've maxed out our 40gig pipes a few times before, but now timewarner and qwest will dynamically scale our pipes as needed), and our increase in unique visitors is only about 20,000-40,000 unique visitors.

      What's impressive is that washingtonpost has 4.5 million unique visitors *and* they have registration.
  • Buying up other companies in direct competition with them...oh, wait.
  • Instapundit (Score:3, Informative)

    by rlp ( 11898 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2004 @03:06AM (#11156496)
    I just checked the numbers over at Instapundit [instapundit.com] and they work out to about 3.8 million visitors per month. So, Microsoft + "professional" journalists = 4.8 million visitors. One law prof + laptop + WiFi = 3.8 million.
  • The Muddled Maternal Murder Series A Washington Post investigation loses its way. By Jack Shafer Posted Monday, Dec. 20, 2004, at 7:21 PM PT Bad timing dude. Perhaps Jack should start checking the job ads?
  • I can see it now:

    * This story is posted to slashdot
    * Slate gets slashdotted
    * The head of the washington post wants to see this website they just paid "millions of dollars" for
    * "503: Service Unavailable!! "
    * "We paid what for this thing?"
  • I guess 7 years, $60 mil [cnn.com] isn't enough to pay the bills for David Carr - he's gotta work for the NYT too.

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