June 4, 2008 / 8:09 PM / 11 years ago

Washington Post unit to develop Web magazines

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Washington Post Co said on Wednesday that it is launching a new unit that will develop and manage a family of Web-based magazines.

The Slate Group plans to get into other new media ventures that it develops on its own or through acquisitions, the company said in a statement.

“The rationale is that you can build an audience beyond Slate’s existing audience in certain vertical or demographic categories,” the group’s editor-in-chief, Jacob Weisberg, said in an interview on Wednesday.

“I think it’s sort of the logic by which Time magazine gave birth to Sports Illustrated and People, and it’s the idea that you can incubate a magazine within another magazine,” said Weisberg, who was editor of Slate magazine before being named editor-in-chief of the Slate Group.

David Plotz will become editor of Slate magazine, succeeding Weisberg. Plotz previously served as deputy editor, the statement said.

Weisberg declined to say how much money the Post is putting into the Slate Group for general operations and acquisitions. “I think we have the potential to get (the Post) to look seriously at whatever we want to do, whether it’s a new site we want to start from scratch, or something we want to buy,” he said.

He also declined to say how many titles Slate plans to launch, but said, “We would consider a year in which we launched two magazines an extremely successful year.”

Slate first was owned by Microsoft Corp, which launched the magazine with founding editor Michael Kinsley. Microsoft sold Slate to The Washington Post in 2005.

The Post Co, like other U.S. newspaper publishers, has been delving more into online media opportunities as it seeks ways to offset a decline in advertising sales it has been experiencing at the print edition of its namesake paper.

Editing by Andre Grenon and Carol Bishopric

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