|Type of site||News website|
|Owner||Salon Media Group|
|Created by||David Talbot|
|Editor||David Daley (interim)|
Salon is a news website created by David Talbot in 1995 and part of Salon Media Group (OTCQB: SLNM). It focuses on U.S. politics and current affairs, and on reviews and articles about music, books and films.
Salon's headquarters is located near downtown San Francisco, California. As of June 2013, its interim editor is David Daley, after editor-in-chief Kerry Lauerman stepped down to partner with Larer Ventures on a new startup. Lauerman's predecessor Joan Walsh stepped down from that position in November 2010 but remained as editor at large.
Salon magazine covers a variety of topics. It has reviews and articles about music, books, and films. It also has articles about "modern life", including relationships, friendships and human sexual behavior. It covers technology, with a particular focus on the free software/open source movement.
In 2008, Salon launched the interactive initiative Open Salon, a social content site/blog network for its readers.
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 opinion writer Alex Pareene; political analyst Steve Kornacki and David Sirota; critics Laura Miller and Andrew O'Hehir; pop-culture columnist Mary Elizabeth Williams; aviation columnist Patrick Smith; Tracy Clark-Flory writing on feminist and gender topics; advice columnist Cary Tennis; and economics writer Andrew Leonard.
David Talbot is founder and original editor-in-chief. He has served several stints as CEO, most recently replacing Richard Gingras who left to join Google as head of news products in July 2011. The company's current CEO and CTO is Cynthia Jeffers. Kerry Lauerman is the editor-in-chief, Gail Williams manages The WELL, and Norman Blashka is the CFO and VP of Operations.
In April 2010 Salon hired Alex Pareene, a writer for Gawker Media, to write about politics. Pareene composes the site's Hack 30: The Worst Pundits in America, a list of people described as "the most predictable, banal, intellectually dishonest and all-around hacky newspaper columnists, cable news shouting heads and political opinion-mongers working today."
Salon was founded by David Talbot and was first published in 1995. It purchased the virtual community The WELL in April 1999, and made its initial public offering of Salon.com on the NASDAQ stock exchange on June 22 of that year.
Salon Premium, a pay-to-view (online) content subscription was introduced on April 25, 2001. The service signed over 130,000 subscribers and staved off discontinuation of services. However, less than two years later, in November 2002, the company announced it had accumulated cash and non-cash losses of $80 million, and 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.
On June 10, 2011, Salon closed its online chat board Table Talk. Salon.com has not given an official reason for ending that section of its site.
Salon has been unprofitable through its entire history. Since 2007, the company has been dependent on ongoing cash injections from board Chairman John Warnock and William Hambrecht, father of former Salon CEO Elizabeth Hambrecht. During the nine months ended December 31, 2012, these cash contributions amounted to $3.4 million, compared to revenue in the same period of $2.7 million.
Aspects of the Salon.com site offerings, ordered by advancing date:
From 1996 to 2011, the Salon Book Awards were an annual literary award given by the editors of Salon.com to fiction and nonfiction books published the previous year. The editors' criteria for winning books are:
the books we'd wholeheartedly recommend to our friends, books we'd clear our social calendar to finish, books we returned to eagerly even when we could barely focus our eyes on a page. They remind us of why we fell in love with reading and why we keep at it in a world that's simultaneously cluttered with mediocre books and increasingly indifferent to the written word.
In 2012, a new award was established called What To Read Awards after the Salon column "What to Read", although Laura Miller continued to maintain a separate Best Books of the Year top-10 list. The What to Read Awards were chosen as follows:
we surveyed our favorite book critics, both print and online, from high-profile publications to the hottest literary blogs. We asked for their top-10 books of 2012, and then tabulated the winners by assigning 10 points for a No. 1 selection, 9 for No. 2, all the way to 1 point for No. 10.
No awards were given for the year of 2002.