Thursday, February 10, 2005

Salon founder steps down

Keyword: . Salon, one of the earliest online magazines, is a particularly interesting case study in online publishing. Founded in 1995, it had both surfed the online bubble (to mix metaphors), and charged for access. In the title link the NYT reports on the departure of its founder, David Talbot.

To quote at length (seeing as the NYT requires registration and, most likely in future, payment):
"A former newspaperman at The San Francisco Examiner, Mr. Talbot sensed a significant business opportunity when the Web began to flourish and became one of its chief evangelists. At the time, the Web was seen not only as a utility for consumers, but as a potential giant killer as well. "Dead-tree" journalism would go the way of typewriters, the theory went, and nimble, lippy sources of information like Salon, and its chief competitor, Slate [my link], would become the must-click option for those in search of up-to-the-minute information.

"In the beginning, Salon staked a claim on cultural coverage, publishing as much as a book review a day, tart media reporting and a sex column by Courtney Weaver that was followed breathlessly by thousands. At the end of the 1990's, the site began to add political news to its mix, some of which opened eyes at other, significantly larger news organizations. Salon was the first publication to point out why it was that Representative Henry Hyde, an Illinois Republican, should not have been throwing stones during the Monica Lewinsky affair. It also played a significant role in revealing some of the allegedly anti-competitive practices of Clear Channel, and broke the news that the White House was pressuring broadcasters to insert anti-drug messages into programming. More recently, Salon raised significant and lasting questions about President Bush's National Guard service."
Tip: take a trip to Archive.org to see how both sites (Slate and Salon) have changed over the years.

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