Salon.com, part of Salon Media Group often just called Salon, is an online magazine, with content updated each weekday. Liberal politics of the United States is its major focus, but it covers a range of issues. Reviews and articles about music, books and films are also a prominent feature of the site. Salon's headquarters are located west of downtown San Francisco, California. Its current editor-in-chief is Joan Walsh.
Content and coverage
Salon magazine covers a variety of topics. American politics
is a major focus. It has reviews and articles about music
, and films
. It also has articles about "modern life", including relationships, friendships and sex
. It covers technology
, with a particular focus on the free software
Salon has always been an interactive site to some degree. The "salon" concept is played out in two discussion board communities open exclusively to online subscribers, Salon Table Talk and The WELL, and since 2005, comments on editorial stories open to all readers.
Responding to the question "how far do you go with the tabloid sensibility to get readers?", former Salon.com editor-in-chief David Talbot said:
Is Salon more tabloid-like? Yeah, we've made no secret of that. I've said all along that our formula here is that we're a smart tabloid. If by tabloid what you mean is you're trying to reach a popular audience, trying to write topics that are viscerally important to a readership, whether it's the story about the mother in Houston who drowned her five children or the story on the missing intern in Washington, Chandra Levy.
Regular contributors include the political writers Joe Conason
and Alex Koppelman
; critics Laura Miller, Heather Havrilesky
, Stephanie Zacharek and Andrew O'Hehir; aviation columnist Patrick Smith
; sports columnist King Kaufman
, technology writer Katharine Mieszkowski
; political blogger Glenn Greenwald
; and cartoonists Tom Tomorrow
, author of This Modern World
; Ruben Bolling
, author of Tom the Dancing Bug
; Keith Knight
, author of The K Chronicles
; Carol Lay
, author of WayLay; and Berkeley Breathed
, author of Opus
Christopher Neimeth is the CEO. Joan Walsh is the editor-in-chief. Norman Blashka is the CFO and VP of Operations . Kerry Lauerman is Salon's New York editorial director; Walter Shapiro is Salon's Washington bureau chief. Gail Williams manages the online community and interactive services such as The WELL.
Salon was first published in 1995.
In April 1999, Salon purchased the virtual community, The WELL. On June 22, 1999, Salon.com made an initial public offering on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
On April 25, 2001, Salon launched Salon Premium, a pay-to-view (online) content subscription. Salon Premium signed over 130,000 subscribers and staved off discontinuation of services.
On November 13, 2002, the company announced it had accumulated cash and non-cash losses of $80 million. By February 2003 it was having difficulty paying its rent, and made an appeal for donations to keep the company running.
On October 9, 2003, Michael O'Donnell, the chief executive and president of Salon Media Group, said he was leaving the company after seven years because it was "time for a change." When he left, Salon.com had accrued $83.6 million in losses since its inception, and its stock traded for 5¢ on the OTC Bulletin Board. David Talbot, Salon's chairman and editor-in-chief at the time, became the new chief executive. Elizabeth "Betsy" Hambrecht, then Salon's chief financial officer, became the president.
Business model and operations
Aspects of the Salon.com site offerings, ordered by advancing date:
- Free content, around 15 new articles posted per-day, revenues wholly derived from in-page advertisements.
- Per-day new content was reduced for a time.
- Salon Premium subscription. Approximately 20% of new content made available to subscribers only. Other subscription benefits included free magazines and ad-free viewing. Larger, more conspicuous ad units introduced for non-subscribers.
- A hybrid subscription model. Readers now can read content by viewing a 15-second full screen advertisement to earn a "day pass" or gain access by subscribing to Salon Premium.
- Moses, Kate (editor). Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood (2000). ISBN 0-671-77468-9
- Miller, Laura (editor). The Salon.Com Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors (2000). ISBN 0-14-028088-X
- Don George (editor). Wanderlust: Real-Life Tales of Adventures and Romance (2001). ISBN 0333905024
- Jennifer Foote Sweeney (editor). Life As We Know It: A Collection of Personal Essays from Salon.com (2003). ISBN 978-0743476867
- Leibovich, Lori (editor). Maybe Baby: 28 Writers Tell the Truth About Skepticism, Infertility, Baby Lust, Childlessness, Ambivalence, and How They Made the Biggest Decision of Their Lives (2006). ISBN 0-06-073781-6
Tracy Quan's novels Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl and Diary of a Married Call Girl: A Nancy Chan Novel continue the story begun in the Salon series Nancy Chan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl.