Type of site
|Owner||Salon Media Group|
|Created by||David Talbot|
Salon is a liberal news website created by David Talbot in 1995 and part of Salon Media Group (OTCQB: SLNM). It focuses on U.S. politics and current affairs, and on reviews and articles about music, books and films.
Salon's headquarters is located near downtown San Francisco, California. As of June 2013, its editor-in-chief is David Daley, after previous editor-in-chief Kerry Lauerman stepped down to partner with Larer Ventures on a new startup.  Lauerman's predecessor Joan Walsh stepped down from that position in November 2010 but remained as editor at large.
Content and coverage
Salon magazine covers a variety of topics. These include reviews and articles about books, films, and music; articles about "modern life", including friendships, human sexual behavior, and relationships; and reviews and articles about technology, with a particular focus on the free software/open source movement.
In 2008, Salon launched the interactive initiative Open Salon, a social content site/blog network for its readers.
Is Salon more tabloid-like? Yeah, we've made no secret of that. I've said all along that our formula here is that we're a smart tabloid. If by tabloid what you mean is you're trying to reach a popular audience, trying to write topics that are viscerally important to a readership, whether it's the story about the mother in Houston who drowned her five children or the story on the missing intern in Washington, Chandra Levy.
Staff and contributors
Regular contributors include the political opinion writer Alex Pareene; political analyst Steve Kornacki; critics Laura Miller and Andrew O'Hehir; pop-culture columnist Mary Elizabeth Williams; Tracy Clark-Flory writing on feminist and gender topics; and economics writer Andrew Leonard.
David Talbot is founder and original editor-in-chief. He has served several stints as CEO, most recently replacing Richard Gingras who left to join Google as head of news products in July 2011. The company's current CEO and CTO is Cynthia Jeffers. David Daley is the editor-in-chief, Gail Williams manages The WELL, and Norman Blashka is the CFO and VP of Operations.
Salon was created by former San Francisco Examiner staff who had departed the newspaper seeking to explore the potential of the Web, especially in the wake of the newspaper strike that had occurred in November 1994. The magazine was founded by the Examiner's former arts and features editor David Talbot and launched in November 1995.
Salon Premium, a pay-to-view (online) content subscription was introduced on April 25, 2001. The service signed over 130,000 subscribers and staved off discontinuation of services. However, less than two years later, in November 2002, the company announced it had accumulated cash and non-cash losses of $80 million, and by February 2003 it was having difficulty paying its rent, and made an appeal for donations to keep the company running.
On October 9, 2003, Michael O'Donnell, the chief executive and president of Salon Media Group, said he was leaving the company after seven years because it was "time for a change." When he left, Salon.com had accrued $83.6 million in losses since its inception, and its stock traded for 5¢ on the OTC Bulletin Board. David Talbot, Salon's chairman and editor-in-chief at the time, became the new chief executive. Elizabeth "Betsy" Hambrecht, then Salon's chief financial officer, became the president.
On June 10, 2011, Salon closed its online chat board Table Talk without stating an official reason for ending that section of the site.
Business model and operations
Salon has been unprofitable through its entire history. Since 2007, the company has been dependent on ongoing cash injections from board Chairman John Warnock and William Hambrecht, father of former Salon CEO Elizabeth Hambrecht. During the nine months ended December 31, 2012, these cash contributions amounted to $3.4 million, compared to revenue in the same period of $2.7 million.
Aspects of the Salon.com site offerings, ordered by advancing date:
- Free content: around 15 new articles posted per-day, revenues wholly derived from in-page advertisements.
- Per-day new content was reduced for a time.
- Salon Premium subscription: Approximately 20 percent of new content was made available to subscribers only. Other subscription benefits included free magazines and ad-free viewing. Larger, more conspicuous ad units introduced for non-subscribers.
- A hybrid subscription model: Readers now can read content by viewing a 15-second full screen advertisement to earn a "day pass" or gain access by subscribing to Salon Premium.
- Salon Core: After Salon Premium subscriptions declined from about 100,000 to 10,000, it was rebranded in 2011 as Salon Core subscriptions featuring a different mix of benefits.
Salon Book Awards and What To Read Awards
From 1996 to 2011, the Salon Book Awards were an annual literary award given by the editors of Salon.com to fiction and nonfiction books published the previous year. The editors' criteria for winning books are:
the books we'd wholeheartedly recommend to our friends, books we'd clear our social calendar to finish, books we returned to eagerly even when we could barely focus our eyes on a page. They remind us of why we fell in love with reading and why we keep at it in a world that's simultaneously cluttered with mediocre books and increasingly indifferent to the written word.
In 2012, a new award was established called What To Read Awards after the Salon column "What to Read", although Laura Miller continued to maintain a separate Best Books of the Year top-10 list. The What to Read Awards were chosen as follows:
we surveyed our favorite book critics, both print and online, from high-profile publications to the hottest literary blogs. We asked for their top-10 books of 2012, and then tabulated the winners by assigning 10 points for a No. 1 selection, 9 for No. 2, all the way to 1 point for No. 10.
What To Read Awards winners
- Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers
- Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies
- Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
- Zadie Smith, NW, and Andrew Solomon, Far From the Tree (co-winners)
- Sheila Heti, How Should a Person Be
- Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
- Lauren Groff, Arcadia
- Jess Walter, Beautiful Ruins
- Sarah Manguso, The Guardians
Salon Book Awards winners
- Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
- The Family Markowitz by Allegra Goodman
- The Giant's House: A Romance by Elizabeth McCracken
- Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
- The Living and the Dead: Robert McNamara and Five Lives of a Lost War by Paul Hendrickson
- The Moor's Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie
- My Dark Places by James Ellroy
- Reader's Block by David Markson
- The Shadow Man by Mary Gordon
- The Temple Bombing by Melissa Fay Greene
- Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
- Because They Wanted to: Stories by Mary Gaitskill
- Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents by Ellen Ullman
- Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
- Echoes of a Native Land: Two Centuries of a Russian Village by Serge Schmemann
- How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton
- Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
- Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon
- The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
- The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
- At Home with the Marquis de Sade: A Life by Francine du Plessix Gray
- A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash by Sylvia Nasar
- Birds of America by Lorrie Moore
- Blindness by José Saramago
- A Slant of Sun: One Child's Courage by Beth Kephart
- Starting Out in the Evening by Brian Morton
- The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester
- Thirst by Ken Kalfus
- The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett
- We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch
- Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War by Mark Bowden
- Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley by Peter Guralnick
- Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
- Lost on Earth: Nomads of the New World by Mark Fritz
- Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
- Original Bliss by A. L. Kennedy
- Plainsong by Kent Haruf
- A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O'Nan
- Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette (Ballantine Reader's Circle) by Judith Thurman
- Show Me a Hero: A Tale of Murder, Suicide, Race, and Redemption by Lisa Belkin
- Abe: A Novel of the Young Lincoln by Richard Slotkin
- An American Story by Debra Dickerson
- Being Dead by Jim Crace
- The Blood Runs Like a River Through My Dreams by Nasdijj
- Boxer Rebellion: The Dramatic Story of China's War on Foreigners that Shook the World in the Summer of 1900 by Diana Preston
- Lying Awake by Mark Salzman
- The Name of the World: A Novel by Denis Johnson
- Pontius Pilate : The Biography of an Invented Man by Ann Wroe
- The Social Lives of Dogs by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
- White Teeth by Zadie Smith
- Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald
- Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
- Borrowed Finery: A Memoir by Paula Fox
- The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
- John Adams by David McCullough
- John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead
- Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
- Stranger Things Happen: Stories by Kelly Link
- Strip City: A Stripper's Farewell Journey Across America by Lily Burana
- Wittgenstein's Poker: The Story of a Ten-Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers by David Edmonds
No awards were given for the year of 2002.
- American Woman: A Novel by Susan Choi
- Any Human Heart by William Boyd
- Brick Lane by Monica Ali
- The Bug by Ellen Ullman
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
- Drop City by T. C. Boyle
- The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
- I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company: A Novel of Lewis and Clark by Brian Hall
- Old School by Tobias Wolff
- Property by Valerie Martin
- American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies by Michael W. Kauffman
- Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle
- Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
- Happy Baby by Stephen Elliott
- Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
- The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
- Nightingales: The Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale by Gillian Gill
- Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival by Dean King
- Snow by Orhan Pamuk
- The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David K. Shipler
- 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann
- The Assassins' Gate by George Packer
- Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke by Peter Guralnick
- Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
- Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
- On Beauty by Zadie Smith
- Them: A Memoir of Parents by Francine du Plessix Gray
- Times Like These by Rachel Ingalls
- Tulia by Nate Blakeslee
- Veronica by Mary Gaitskill
- The Amalgamation Polka by Stephen Wright
- A Disorder Peculiar to the Country: A Novel by Ken Kalfus
- The Family That Couldn't Sleep: A Medical Mystery by D.T. Max
- Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
- James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon by Julie Phillips
- The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn
- The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
- Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
- Sweet and Low: A Family Story by Rich Cohen
- Twilight of the Superheroes by Deborah Eisenberg
- What Is the What by Dave Eggers
- Wizard of the Crow by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
- The Father of All Things: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam by Tom Bissell
- Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations by Georgina Howell
- Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner
- The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved by Judith Freeman
- Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra
- Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
- Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson
- The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
- The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
- 2666 by Roberto Bolaño
- Atmospheric Disturbances: A Novel by Rivka Galchen
- Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are by Rob Walker
- The Likeness by Tana French
- The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher
- A Person of Interest: A Novel by Susan Choi
- Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood by Mark Harris
- The Suicide Index: Putting My Father's Death in Order by Joan Wickersham
- The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale
- The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes
- Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
- The Children's Book by A. S. Byatt
- Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem
- Columbine by Dave Cullen
- The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
- Love in Infant Monkeys: Stories by Lydia Millet
- A New Literary History of America (Harvard University Press Reference Library) by Greil Marcus
- Somewhere Towards the End: A Memoir by Diana Athill
- Tall Man: The Death of Doomadgee by Chloe Hooper
- The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them by Elif Batuman
- The Big Short by Michael Lewis (tied with John Lanchester)
- I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay by John Lanchester (tied with Michael Lewis)
- Let the Swords Encircle Me: Iran – a Journey Behind the Headlines by Scott Peterson
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
- The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
- Room by Emma Donoghue
- A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
- Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
- Faithful Place by Tana French
- Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
- The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
- Pym by Mat Johnson
- State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
- The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthur Phillips
- The Pale King by David Foster Wallace
- Townie: A Memoir by Andre Dubus III
- Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution by Mary Gabriel
- The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick
- Catherine the Great: The Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
- Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff
- All Sides http://www.allsides.com/news-source/saloncom
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- About Salon at Salon
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- "Interview with Salon.com's David Talbot". JournalismJobs.com. June 2001. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
- Calderone, Michael (September 27, 2011). "Salon CEO Calls For 'American Spring' With Site's Relaunch". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
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