Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Founder says he'll put an "American Spring" in Salon.com's step

David Talbot
Salon.com, which can reasonably claim to have been the very first standalone online magazine is undergoing a complete relaunch under the direction of the man who started it.
Former editor in chief and online news pioneer David Talbot returns at CEO, six years after he left, and says that the money-losing site (said to have lost $15 million in the three years ending 2010) is going to get a fancy new name and outlook: American Spring.
"Salon is dedicating itself to an American revival," Talbot [said in a letter to the readers], taking inspiration from the social upheavals in the Arab world and the protests in Europe against financial elites. "Our editorial mission will become more explicitly and aggressively populist. We will be pushing more investigative pieces and both Democratic and Republican targets will be fair game, since both parties are increasingly under the control of the same corporate forces."
The magazine will invest in new content and new partnerships and will be launching a video talk show series. It will also be charging for some of its content -- a notion that it tried unsuccessfully in 2001 with Salon Premium, which had at one point about 35,000 paid subscribers -- with a membership program called Salon Core. Details of the program are apparently to be published soon.
"Nowadays the Web is dominated by the robotic news recycling of big aggregation sites," Talbot said. "But these news recyclers will never create the courageous and original journalism that the country desperately needs. By joining Salon Core, supporters can help ensure that Salon remains independent, free of the corporate forces that dominate the rest of the media."
Salon.com is the largest independent news site in the U.S., with a monthly audience of about 6 million unique visitors.  Talbot founded the site in July, 1995 and in its earlier days was celebrated for being among the best websites. In recent years, it has suffered from a troubled ownership and management turmoil and even, perhaps, had become dismissed as "old hat".

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