Exactly ten years ago on June 24, 1996 Michael Kinsley launched Slate as its first editor. Today, the Guardian announces that he is to join them to “drive its online push into America”.
It is the latest in a stream of announcements from the Guardian. Printing in the US, a pdf paper updated every 15 minutes and news first on the web, among them.
The appointment of Kinsley, although exactly what he will do is unclear from today’s report, is a clear signal that the Guardian is determined to increase its reach overseas.
And it raises another question. Is the Guardian starting to move from being a British voice which is listened to around the world, to becoming a world liberal voice?
In 2001 the readers’ editor, Ian Mayes, wrote about emails arriving from around the world and quoted the editor, Alan Rusbridger, as saying: “I suppose that once you are aware of this international dimension you can’t help but think a little more internationally and be a little less anglocentric.”
With the Guardian staking its future on the web, it also needs to find new ways of making money from news and comment on the internet.
At the launch of Slate, Kinsley said: “And we want to be self-supporting. Indeed one of SLATE’s main goals is to demonstrate, if we can, that the economies of cyberspace make it easier for our kind of journalism to pay for itself.”
Has the web and print magazine, originally owned by Microsoft but sold to the Washington Post, succeeded? The latest annual report of the Washington Post shows Slate made a loss but another section says: “Slate, our new acquisition at the start of last year, turned in unexpectedly good results.”