Welcome to SLATE
Also on the Consider Your Options page, you can order SLATE to be delivered to your computer by e-mail. (Caution: This may not work with your e-mail system.) We'll even send you SLATEon Paper, a monthly compilation of highlights from SLATE, through the U.S. Mail. (The cost is $29 a year. Call 800-555-4995 to order.)
Individual copies of SLATEon Paper will be available exclusively at Starbucks. And selected articles from SLATE will also appear in Time magazine.
While you're on the Consider Your Options page, please read about how to navigate around SLATE. We use page numbers, like a traditional print magazine, and have tried to make it as easy as possible either to "flip through" the magazine or to and from the Table of Contents.
OK, But What's in It??
SLATE is basically a weekly: Most articles will appear for a week. But there will be something new to read almost every day. Some elements will change constantly. Other elements will appear and be removed throughout the week. Every article will indicate when it was "posted" and when it will be "composted." As a general rule the Back of the Book, containing cultural reviews and commentary, will be posted Mondays and Tuesdays, the longer Features will be posted Wednesdays and Thursdays, and the front-of-the-book Briefing section will be posted Fridays. If you miss something, you can easily call it up from our archive, "The Compost."
Let me try to describe a typical issue of SLATE.
The Readme column will not always be as solipsistic as this one. It will usually be a commentary on public affairs by one of SLATE's editors.
Several regular departments in the Briefing section are attempts at "meta-news": the news about the news, a sense of how the week's big stories are being played and perceived. The Week/The Spin takes a dozen or so topics, from this week's election-campaign developments to the latest big book from Knopf, and analyses, as objectively as possible, the spin they're getting, the sub-angles that are emerging, and so on. In Other Magazines uses the covers and contents of Time, Newsweek, etc., as a handy measure of what the culture considers important. (We aim to have these magazines in SLATE even before they reach the newsstands or your mailbox.) The Horse Race tracks the presidential candidates like stocks, as priced by the opinion polls, the pundits, and a genuine market in political candidates run out of the University of Iowa. Our man William Saletan will compute and analyze changes in the pundits index.
The Gist, by contrast, is SLATE's effort to provide a quick education on some current issue in a form as free of spin as possible. Also free of quotes, anecdotes, and other paraphernalia. The only 1,000 words you'll have to read when you might rather read nothing at all.
In a weekly department called Varnish Remover, political consultant Robert Shrum will deconstruct a 30-second TV spot from the election campaign. You can download a video or audio clip of the spot itself. "Assessment" will be a short, judgmental profile of some figure in the news. (Coming up soon: James Fallows on Wired magazine's godfather, Nicholas Negroponte.)
Stanford economist Paul Krugman writes The Dismal Scientist, a once-a-month column on economic policy. (See his debut essay in this issue, about the economic war within the Clinton administration.) University of Rochester economist Steven Landsburg writes monthly on "Everyday Economics," using economic analysis to illuminate everyday life. (His first column, in our next issue, will explain how sexual promiscuity can actually reduce the spread of AIDS.)
Michael Kinsley is a columnist for the Washington Post and the founding editor of Slate.