The latest on Slatest

Slate's news aggregation blog's revamp goes for quality over quantity

There’s a new Slatest in town: the third version of Slatest, Slate’s aggregated news blog, launched Monday. Though some Slatest readers were only just getting over the changes between Slatest’s first and second versions after the April 2011 revamp (and some still mourn the pre-Slatest Today’s Papers), editor Josh Voorhees believes the newest version will be able to develop a bond with its readers, who will be better served by its “more honest aggregation.” (Slate continues to refine its aggregation style, as its editor David Plotz told CJR last year).

The word “companion” comes up often, both on Slatest (new tagline: “your news companion by Josh Voorhees”) and when talking to Voorhees, who talks quickly and bounces back and forth between topics—much like Slatest itself. As Voorhees describes his role: “I’m just that person one cubicle over who isn’t doing his actual work and is just constantly reading the news and shouting out every once in a while, ‘hey, did you see this?’ Or ‘Oh, you’re not gonna believe this,’ or ‘Hey, here’s a quick little summary of what’s going on.’ So then you’re caught up.”

Slatest will also serve as a companion to Slate’s coverage. “The Slatest is still an aggregator,” Vorhees says. “The average Slate writer takes a little bit longer to craft a really definitive or provocative piece. The Slatest will always be that kind of ‘first responder’ for the site.” There will be fewer posts per day—so far, almost all of them have been written by Voorhees—but those posts serve as a primer for what the main site will go in-depth on later. Where some aggregator blogs operate independently of their larger sites (The Atlantic Wire is a pretty separate entity from The Atlantic), Slatest will very much remain part of its mothership—and that should keep readers circulating around the site throughout the day.

For example, the death of director Tony Scott got a quick Slatest post at 8:24 a.m. with a promise that there was more to come on Brow Beat, Slate’s culture blog. It took Forrest Wickman another nine hours to finish his take on Scott’s legacy, but when he did, Slatest linked to it. Slatest’s afternoon round-up also made sure to link to Monday’s XX Factor post on Scott.

It should be noted that Slatest will not exclusively link to Slate posts. Voorhees says part of his job is to “figure out who does have the really good take and point readers in that direction.” The new daily round-up newsletter emailed to subscribers every afternoon linked to posts on Slate and Slatest as well as Salon, TMZ, ABC News, the Los Angeles Times, and several others.

Slatest readers looking for as many news items and links as possible probably won’t like Slatest’s new format, but for readers who want to know what’s going on in the world and get a peek at what’s to come on the main Slate site, the new Slatest is a winner.

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Sara Morrison is a former assistant editor at CJR. Follow her on Twitter @saramorrison. Tags: , ,