Today’s my day to like stuff. One item is non-controversial, but I know I’m setting myself up for a “That’s What I Like: Slate” slugfest with this one. When it comes to online magazines, I’m a huge fan of Salon. If I were to offer a conservative estimate, I’d say I check in with the site a good five times a day — first thing in the morning, mid-morning, at lunch, later afternoon, and in the evening (mostly just to get a heads’ up on the next day’s stories…but I always save them for later unless I can’t resist).
Salon has been around since 1995 when award-winning journalist David Talbot (who has since handed over the reins of the publication to Joan Walsh) founded the online magazine. A victim and victor of the Internet bubble, Salon has had its share of financial problems — going public may not have been the best move, but what do I know about that stuff? — but the publication has managed to survive and thrive thanks to a combination of subscribers and advertising. In other words, it’s making it the old-fashioned way.
What makes Salon great? So many things. So many things. First and foremost, Salon has a great team of writers and columns. I’m not one to scour the gossip pages, but I feel a little lost when I don’t start my day scanning The Fix — it’s a nice wrap-up of celebrity news and weirdness; it’s just enough so that I can fake my way through casual conversation, but not so much that I feel like I’m one of those people. Though I suspect I really am. That’s another problem for another day.
Then there’s the War Room, a political column written with a decidedly progressive, Democratic slant (Salon wears its politics proudly). Featuring intelligent, insightful coverage (with a good dose of snark) of the political realm, War Room is updated throughout the day. Helpful, as you can see from my frequent “see what’s new at Salon” schedule. I limit myself to one reading of The Daou Report, the roundup of the best of progressive and conservative blogs, a day — I like the concept, but find my blood pressure rising a little too often for my comfort. I know there are a lot of great bloggers being featured in the column, but so often these bloggers seem like they’re in love with their own cleverness…to the point where they refuse to allow reason to triumph over rhetoric. In a way, the column shines a light on one of the great problems in today’s political world: everything has become black and white rather than shades of gray.
My absolute favorite column, however, is one of the newest — Broadsheet. This unabashedly feminist column focuses on news relevant to today’s women: health, sports, economics, family, home, work, driving, entertainment. Hmm, those also seem like issues that are relevant to men as well. As a woman, I am extremely happy to see someone covering the day’s issues and news from my perspective.
In the case of Broadsheet, the coverage focuses on the impact our society has on women. The writers are raising children, pursuing careers, and, yes, trying to make sense of a world were women still get paid less for equal work. It’s the little things — ads for sports bras that make you scratch your head, exposing the hypocrisy of a pundit who talks out of both sides of her mouth (see, it’s different for her to have a nanny…she’s special!), and putting down fallacies about reproductive health issues.
There is much more to love about Salon. Video Dog, for example. Audiofile. How The World Works (a column that scares me because I suspect the world is secretly held together with rubber cement and popsicle sticks). Ask The Pilot. Joe Conanson’s column. Heather Havrilesky (fresh content on Sundays!). All of the feature pieces — strong investigative reporting mixed with exposes of the unusual folks that populate our universe — are worthy of mention. See how you have to go back several times a day? It’s too much fun for just one visit — I haven’t even scratched the surface of Salon.
Go there for yourself. A lot.