Help! My favorite news website no longer delights me.
September 25, 2014 9:27 PM   Subscribe

Is there a news/culture website that's like Slate used to be?

I used to love Slate. Yeah, sometimes they were knee-jerk contrarian for the sake of being contrarian, but on the whole it was a place where you could get a good variety of thoughtful and informative left-of-center commentary (especially the Supreme Court coverage), political wonkery, occasional pop culture articles and reviews so I didn't feel like I lived under a rock, and the occasional really excellent long-form reporting piece. Between Slate and occasionally perusing the New York Times I felt like I had a reasonable sense of what was going on in the world. Maybe that was an illusion, but regardless.

Now it seems like half the homepage is Dear Prudence and the other half is linkbaity headlines or things that seem like they might be articles but it turns out they're videos, and I'm tired of it. I don't even want to share links with friends because the headlines and setups feel so trashy and HuffPo-y, and every blank surface is full of those links that look like they lead to stories but they're really to other websites of extremely dubious value. I suspect Slate Plus would remove those links, but I strongly doubt they are writing less linkbaity headlines for the paying customers (please correct me if I'm wrong!).

I get that Slate has to do this in order to compete, and I'm not blaming them, but I just don't enjoy even going to the website anymore. I abandoned Salon several years ago for similar reasons, but now it's not clear to me where I can go from here. I thought Slate and I were going to be together forever and just stopped looking around! If you enjoy the kinds of articles you used to read on Slate, like, ten years ago, where do you go now for that same kind of stuff? I can't even tell if I like the content itself anymore because I hate the experience of going to the website so much.
posted by town of cats to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
I like some of Slate's writing, and I find my experience of the site is radically better if I don't go to the front page, and instead follow the solitaryslate twitter account. It debounces all of the official slate tweets so you get one tweet per new article instead of the 5-10 tweets per article they do on their main account. This way I go directly to articles I care about without having to dig through the linkbait-y frontpage.

Maybe not exactly what you're looking for, but it's how I manage to not be driven nuts by that part of their business.
posted by heresiarch at 9:41 PM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

The New Republic
The Atlantic
The New Yorker*
Reason (libertarian)

* I'm not sure how much of The New Yorker is walled off to you, since I'm a subscriber. I know they recently opened up their content, but I don't know if that's permanent. Anyway, the quality is so high that the site is worth checking out even if it's not all free.
posted by John Cohen at 9:45 PM on September 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

The New Yorker is pretty awesome. While they have a paywall, some of the long-form articles are free to read, and unlike other paywalled sites, they have launched a pretty good blog feature by regular writers that itself kicks ass on Slate any day of the week.

I don't have a lot of disposable income (I have children instead) but I did purchase a New Yorker subscription. It's pretty cheap, all things considered, and what greater joy is there each week than getting a New Yorker delivered in your mailbox?

But I lasted a long time without getting a subscription. Interestingly, it was the ton of free content from back issues that won me over.
posted by Nevin at 10:30 PM on September 25, 2014

Seconding Vox and The Atlantic. Also, .Mic, Mother Jones, The Independent, and New Statesman (although New Statesmen and the Independent can sometimes have a bit of annoyingly cluelessly privileged whining).
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 10:10 AM on September 26, 2014

Vox strikes me as having the same problems as Slate. Actually, many of the other recommendations here do, but I think some degree of that is (sigh) unavoidable these days. But Vox? Vox frustrates me from the moment the page loads, frequently to the degree that you mention having with Slate.

The Atlantic is the least offensive of the lot lately.

I eagerly await the news outlet that is bare-bones, text in columns, few images, high news-to-editorial ratio, zero celebrity/viral content, staffed by journalists with a lot of integrity, sleek prose, and fetish for minimizing word count. I would pay real money for this service. One day...
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:27 PM on September 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Another vote for transitioning to The Atlantic.

Business Insider also has a good number of gems about a surprisingly wide range of subjects. (I am not really a financial news person.) But for some reason I can only find their good stuff from the rss feed; when I'm on the homepage, I mostly see clickbaity headlines that turn out to lead to listsicles.

(I'm also annoyed with Slate's race to the bottom. I still visit the site, but only to read the THREE Dear Prudies that are published weekly. I saw your post title and had a pavlovian response. Clearly, I'm part of the problem.)
posted by lesli212 at 7:34 PM on September 26, 2014

The New York Review of Books comes closest if you ask me. Like The New Republic, most of the articles from the print publication are accessible by subscribers only, but also like TNR there are about a half-dozen articles promoted on the home page that are trenchant, discursive, well-written and often fascinating. Focus is on national and world affairs, politics and economics in addition to arts / culture / literature and reviews of particular books.

I've also been going the meta-filtration route and digging into Longform (mobile app) and Longreads recently.

And yeah, I miss the old Slate too.
posted by sesquipedalia at 9:15 PM on September 26, 2014

Like The New Republic, most of the articles from the print publication are accessible by subscribers only

That's not true, TNR is totally free online. Go check it out.
posted by John Cohen at 7:45 PM on September 27, 2014

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