Salon.com’s moving virtually all its news and politics to the “Premium” site. The editor’s argument is that “while media outlets like CNN, Fox and MSNBC dish out the predictable mix of flag-waving kitsch, White House spin and wire copy, Salon breaks the hard-hitting stories and runs the complete range of commentary — from left to right to none-of-the-above — that the American public desperately needs as we educate ourselves about the coming conflict.” Of course, he doesn’t mention the BBC, which had arguably the best news coverage on the day of the 9-11 tragedy (and continues to impress). I’m sorry to say, this looks like the final nail in Salon’s coffin for me.

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  1. I think you’re probably right. I considered subscribing to Salon’s Premium service when it was first announced, but in the end I decided not to because I don’t think the quality is there any more. Too much utterly predictable liberal whining about Republicans, and too few worthwhile articles about culture, technology and the arts. Making their political coverage subscriber-only isn’t going to persuade me to jump aboard.

    I think David Talbot is kidding himself if he really thinks that Salon’s news and current affairs coverage is so uniquely brilliant that it’s going to pull subscribers in. For the sort of serious current affairs journalism that the Current Situation demands, the web-based versions of the traditional broadsheet newspapers and newsmagazines and broadcasters totally outgun a small web-only outfit like Salon.

    Which isn’t to say that independent content sites don’t have a role: it’s just that running a full-service team of journalists is *expensive*. It’s better not to try to compete with daily newspapers, but to try updating less frequently with worthwhile think-pieces instead (PopPolitics) or to focus on a specific area and cover it well (Spiked!). Or to forget about the web, and use email to distribute links and commentary (e.g. NewsTrolls, Red Rock Eater, NetSurfer Digest).

    I’ll be sad to see Salon go, but I’ll be amazed if it makes it to the year’s end.

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