Slate

Wiegel, Bazelon leave Slate

Huffington Post | Capital | Slate

Emily Bazelon and Dave Weigel will leave Slate, continuing a shakeup that began after former editor David Plotz stepped down as top editor in July.

Bazelon, a senior editor for Slate since 2005, will be a staff writer for New York Times Magazine, where she has been a contributor, according to a release from The Times.

In a statement, New York Times Magazine editor Jake Silverstein said he was “giddy” about the hire.

Weigel will join Bloomberg’s as-yet unnamed politics vertical, Michael Calderone reports for The Huffington Post.

Wiegel wrote about his departure from Slate, saying that his move was inspired by his appreciation for the team at Bloomberg:

This is still my favorite magazine and I’m only leaving it because Bloomberg’s putting together — I will try to avoid corporate-speak — an ambitious political magazine run by the sort of geniuses who made Bloomberg Businessweek into a great print mag, and New York’s political coverage a daily must-read.

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Police Shooting Missouri

Where to buy gas masks for your reporting staff in Ferguson

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Who got arrested in Ferguson last night? Getty Images photographer Scott Olson. (Poynter) | Intercept reporter Ryan Devereaux (The Intercept) | Devereaux “was shot with rubber bullets/beanbags by police last night, spent night in jail. Is due to be released w/o charge soon.” (@the_intercept) | German reporters Ansgar Graw and Frank Hermann. (The Local) | “On Monday, The Washington Post, following the lead of other news organizations, began outfitting its employees with gas masks, purchased at a chain hardware store.” (WP) | Amazon has a pretty good selection of gas masks, some of which are eligible for Prime.
  2. St. Louis Post-Dispatch front page: “Streets Flare Up,” with stunning photo by David Carson (via Newseum) | Carson talked with Kristen Hare last week about covering the unrest in Ferguson.
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Career Beat: Recode gets a new managing editor, editor in chief

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Jerry Jackson will be chief meteorologist at WNCT in Greenville, North Carolina. Previously, he was chief meteorologist for WWAY in Wilmington, North Carolina. (Jerry Jackson)
  • Joseph Deaux will be a commodities reporter covering base metals for Bloomberg. Formerly, he was a reporter at TheStreet, where he covered “the fed, gold and politics.” (talkingbiznews)
  • Mary Pat Thibodeau is now a photographer for Life & Style magazine. Previously, she was a photographer for the New York Daily News. (New York Post)
  • Brian Palmer is now a news writer at OnEarth. Formerly, he was chief explainer at Slate. (Mediabistro)
  • Edmund Lee will be managing editor for Recode. Formerly, Lee was a media reporter for Bloomberg. (@edmundlee)
  • Kenneth Li will be editor in chief of Recode. Formerly, he was managing editor there.
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Rupert Murdoch bids on Time Warner

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories. Read more

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David Plotz: ‘What am I gonna do, die here?’

David Plotz’s decision to step down as Slate’s editor was deeply disappointing for professional media-watchers like me: No rumors of newsroom drama. No reports of clashes with the brass. Just a cheery goodbye note and the assurance “I’m not leaving for any secret reason.”

Reached by phone, Plotz said twice that he’s had a “wonderful time” atop Slate’s masthead. “There’s a person who can edit the magazine better than I can,” he said of newly named editor Julia Turner. His resignation was effective today, Plotz said. Turner’s in charge, and Plotz is now an editor-at-large with an amorphous portfolio: “It’s one of those titles you create because you’re not exactly sure what the person does,” he said. Read more

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Slate names Julia Turner EIC

The New York Times | Slate

Julia Turner is the new editor-in-chief of Slate. David Plotz, the site’s current top editor, is stepping down, Leslie Kaufman reports.

Plotz may “start a new operation for Graham Holdings, the parent company of Slate,” Kaufman writes. Turner will be based in New York. Plotz was based in D.C.

“I’m not leaving for any secret reason,” Plotz writes in a farewell note. “Maybe it’s the rule of six: Mike [Kinsley] edited Slate for six years. Jacob [Weisberg] edited Slate for six years. I’ve been editing Slate for six years, and I’m ready to try something new.” Read more

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‘Brilliant,’ ‘respected’ and ‘uniquely powerful’: Some different words about Jill Abramson

The New York Times | Slate | New Republic | Salon | All Digitocracy

After her firing from The New York Times on Wednesday, the media reported and repeated anonymous descriptions about Jill Abramson that made many of us cringe. She was pushy. Mercurial. Stubborn and condescending.

But on Thursday, several stories used different words to describe Abramson.

From Margaret Sullivan, the Times’ public editor:

But let’s take a moment to celebrate the short but meaningful reign of Ms. Abramson. A brilliant journalist, she “kept the paper straight,” which was one of her stated aims; there was no scandal on her watch. She moved the journalism forward into the digital realm – let’s allow the word “Snowfall,” like “Rosebud” to say it all. She defended press rights and stood up for her reporters, most notably with China coverage, staying the course when the going got tough. And her staff won eight Pulitzers during her short tenure (it should have been nine, in my view).

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As Slate makes pagination go away for a price, what usability sin would you pay to eliminate?

Finally, Slate’s providing readers with an alternative experience to “one of the worst design and usability sins on the Web” — but it’ll cost you. For $5 per month, Slate Plus members won’t have to deal with paginated articles or ads during podcasts.

It’s a “freemium” pay model, or a “reverse paywall,” that adds features for subscribers rather than substracting them for nonsubscribers. But it still creates classes of haves and have-nots: those who have to click the “single page” button to see a story on a single page and those who don’t.

So that got us wondering: What awful usability features of browsing the Web would you pay to make go away? Interstitial ads like those that play before Washington Post content (even photo slideshows!)? The prompt to download or open an app on whenever you visit a mobile site like CNN? Pop-ups like those on Poynter asking you to donate money or pop-ups like those on Mashable asking you to like a Facebook page? Read more

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No paginated articles for members of Slate’s new membership program

Slate | Nieman

Slate’s new membership program Slate Plus launched Monday, and Editor David Plotz reels off some of the premiums in the $5 per month/$50 per year program he says will lead to a “a richer, smoother Slate experience” in his announcement: “special access to favorite Slate writers and editors.” Early access to some features. A really nice-looking mug.

All of which pales compared to the most important benefit: No more paginated articles.

Slate will be sleeker for Slate Plus members. We know how much some of you dislike pagination: Slate Plus members will automatically get single-page articles throughout the site. Members will also be able to read and post comments directly on article pages, rather in a pop-up window, and we’ll highlight member comments.

The membership is not a paywall — all Slate’s content is still free for cheapskates. (Though the idea of eliminating annoyances in exchange for cash may be interesting to publishers no matter how or whether they charge for content — I would consider paying to never see “Read more” followed by a URL when I paste a quote into a blog post.)

Nieman’s Josh Benton writes that Slate Plus’ value “isn’t single-page stories or a pre-show spritzer with Emily Bazelon — it’s just the fact that it’s an opportunity for people willing to pay to do so.”

There are Slate superfans whose relationship with the site stretches more than a decade.

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On Thursday, Amanda Hess wrote about the media talking down to women. In a piece called “Enough With the Ageist, Sexist Mom Jokes,” Hess wrote about a story in The New York Times on Tuesday and how the act of having a child does not actually lower IQ or the ability to understand complex topics.

I heard about “How to Explain Bitcoin to Your Mom” from my mother, of course, who spotted the item on the Times’ twitter feed. She is a New York Times subscriber (since the audience of the NYTimes.com is 52 percent female with a median age of 47, I assume moms are a key demographic for the newspaper), so she is well-aware of the paper’s near-constant coverage of the cryptocurrency, even though these articles are written using grown-up words and not pretty pictures. (The same cannot be said for my father: When I called and asked him “What is Bitcoin?,” he replied, “I’ve been asking everybody the same thing for months.”)

Amanda Hess, Slate

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