Monday, December 7, 2009

The State of Slate(.com)

In my exploration of alternative news outlets over the past few months, I have come to see a lot of similar qualities in many of them. This week, I looked at Slate, an online magazine. Like many alternative online sources, Slate is targeted towards a younger, more tech-savvy audience, and this is made apparent in many ways.
One way is the casual language. The use of informal language makes the site less intimidating and perhaps more interesting to younger readers. For instance, one of the headlines says “Don’t Panic: the world is totally overreacting to the crisis in Dubai.” I would never expect to see language like that on the New York Times website. Even something as simple as the phrase “totally overreacting” shows that whoever wrote that article isn’t afraid to use casual language. In the article, the author uses other casual phrases like “a point I made earlier this week,” “choked it off,” and “the global economy may have pulled itself out of the ditch.”
Another trend that appeals to younger readers are less formal topics and more fun topics. Slate has a collection of photographs in the main story bar. Today’s theme is photographs of people drinking. This doesn’t have high news value but it still interesting and entertaining. Or “Eight Signs That You’re Boring Someone to Death,” and “The Latest Updates From Barack Obama’s Facebook Newsfeed.”
Use of multimedia seems to be a cornerstone of new news websites. Slate has a section of Today’s Picture/Cartoon/Doonesbury (a comic strip)/ and Video. Slate, like many other alternative news websites is just bursting at the seams with multimedia content. I like this ascpect because I really think it enriches the stories. Watching videos, hearing clips, seeing photos, and getting to look at extended interviews really helps reader dive into stories that truly interest them or stories they need more information about.
Much like the Huffington Post, Slate has headline news as well as blogs. Slate and THP have many contributing authors who write blogs for the website. These less formal pieces let readers follow their favorite bloggers (or bloggers with particular views) and people who tend to blog about things that interest them.
The way I see it, new-age news websites generally have three things in common: a little humor, a lot of choices, and are chock full of multimedia content.
Visit Slate at:

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