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RealTime IT News

Slate Goes to the Post

Slate, an online news magazine with an eight-year history of critical acclaim and financial struggle, has a new owner. The Washington Post Co. announced today that it has bought Slate from Microsoft for an undisclosed sum.

The magazine's business operations will be run by Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI), the newspaper's Internet arm. Cliff Sloan, vice president, business development and general counsel of WPNI, has been named publisher of Slate, taking over for Cyrus Krohn.

Slate will maintain New York and Washington, D.C., offices and Jacob Weisberg will stay atop the masthead as editor. Most of its staffers will also remain.

"Microsoft has been a wonderful home for us since 1996," Weisberg said in a statement. "It's clear, though, that The Washington Post Company is the best place for Slate to continue to grow and develop."

In a message to readers today on Slate, Weisberg said he's been assured by the Washington Post owners that "Slate is not going to be merged, submerged, bent, folded, spindled, or mutilated."

The Redmond, Wash., software giant put Slate up for sale this summer because it didn't mesh with the company's core mission. Weisberg said that even as that decision was made, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said the magazine could remain if it couldn't find the right buyer.

And Microsoft isn't severing all ties. It has struck a deal with WPNI to make Slate headlines available to users on its MSN portal.

For the Washington Post , Slate is attractive because it reaches an educated group of readers who use the Web as their primary source of news. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, Slate had 6 million unique users in November 2004.

WPNI also said Slate's audience is similar to its washingtonpost.com and Newsweek.com audience -- a factor that may allow it to bundle the site and deliver more click-throughs to advertisers.



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