Slate editor David Plotz gave an in-depth interview to Sparksheet about how Slate manages to navigate its way through the seedy world of content farms, SEO, and aggregation, while remaining an “online magazine.”
We were intrigued by this, mostly because we are sort of curious as to what an “online magazine” really is, and what makes them better than mere websites or blogs. This is how Plotz defines them:
[T]here are magazines, such as Slate, that publish at a pace that makes them much more like daily newspapers, and there are websites like the Huffington Post, which occupy lots of different niches all at once…
Within that universe, Slate has certain distinguishing qualities that have to do with sensibility. It’s a place that aspires to do very intelligent, witty, important, and entertaining journalism about the news of the day. We’re not primarily a commodity news site…
Something about Plotz’s definition of an “online magazine,” apart from the rate of content it puts out, still suggests that the label has more to do with an assumption of quality rather than pure form. After all, as addressed in the interview itself, Slate has “actually pioneered” the aggregation type of web journalism with its Today’s Papers, which has since morphed into The Slatest.
Plotz agrees that aggregation remains “important,” and “there’s a lot of stuff that Slate does that is built around aggregation and curation.”
Ah, curation. Another lofty new label. As far as we can tell, “curation” is to “aggregation” like “online magazine” is to “blog.”