Slate’s Top Editor Leaves After a Three-Year Run

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    After nearly three years as the editor in chief of Slate, the online publication and podcasting platform, Jared Hohlt is stepping down, a spokeswoman for the site said on Wednesday.

    Slate’s chief executive, Dan Check, told the staff in an email that, after recent discussions with Mr. Hohlt about the 26-year-old outlet, “we both decided this move was the best way forward.” Mr. Hohlt, who was an editor at New York magazine for nearly two decades before he joined Slate, declined to comment. His last day will be Friday, a spokeswoman said.

    He started as editor in chief in April 2019, succeeding Julia Turner, who had joined The Los Angeles Times, where she is deputy managing editor for entertainment, audio and strategy, and Lowen Liu, a Slate deputy editor who was the acting editor in chief after Ms. Turner’s departure.

    Mr. Hohlt inherited a site in flux: Jacob Weisberg, a former Slate editor in chief who had become chief executive of the Slate Group, left in 2018 to found a podcasting company, Pushkin Industries, with the journalist Malcolm Gladwell.

    Mr. Hohlt led Slate’s newsroom during a rocky moment for first- and second-generation online publications. The bet that many of them had made to rely mainly on advertising revenue had essentially failed to pay off.

    Credit…Slate

    The digital giants Vox Media and Group Nine announced a merger last month, part of their effort to compete for advertising dollars with Google, Facebook and Amazon. BuzzFeed recently acquired HuffPost and Complex Networks, but failed to raise the capital it had hoped to bring in after going public last month.

    Some digital publications, including Slate, have instituted paywalls to raise revenue from readers. In September, Slate announced layoffs and other cost-cutting measures.

    Mr. Hohlt “shaped and sharpened pieces and podcast episodes,” Mr. Check said in his email to the staff, adding that he was “a great leader, teammate and a pleasure to work with.” The Slate spokeswoman declined to comment on who would lead the newsroom after Mr. Hohlt’s departure.

    Slate was introduced in 1996 by Microsoft under the novel concept of a magazine whose articles would be published solely on the World Wide Web. “One of Slate’s main goals is to demonstrate, if we can, that the economies of cyberspace make it easier for our kind of journalism to pay for itself,” the founding editor Michael Kinsley wrote at the time.

    It has become known for its podcasts, which include the narrative-driven shows “Slow Burn” and “One Year,” as well as the more freewheeling programs “Culture Gabfest” and “Hang Up and Listen.” It also has a daily podcast, “What Next,” hosted by Mary Harris.

    Last year, Slate suspended Mike Pesca, the host of its news and culture podcast “The Gist,” after he wrote in a company Slack channel in defense of using a racial slur in certain contexts. Mr. Pesca left Slate in September.

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