Slate to Launch Business Site

otr elizabeth spiers 1v Slate to Launch Business SiteThe past year has seen the launch of the Fox Business Network and Condé Nast’s Portfolio. Now it looks like there could be another brand-new business journalism start-up to add to the list.

Slate—the irreverent online magazine that, since being launched by Michael Kinsley in 1996, has established itself as a fixture in the crowded landscape of opinion journalism—plans to start a separate site next year, devoted exclusively to business news and opinion.

Slate deputy editor David Plotz told The Observer he believes there’s a clear opening for Slate’s distinctive editorial voice. He argued that while political journalism has diversified with the arrival of blogs and other independent sites, business journalism is “still dominated by the big brands. We think there’s an opening for a really smart, analytical, opinionated Web site that could be Webby and fast and agile.”

Mr. Plotz cautioned that the new project is still awaiting final authorization from Post company executives. Assuming it goes forward, it will likely capitalize on the Slate brand with a logo at the top of the home page. He would not comment on the projected budget for the site.

According to a source at Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, the publishers of Slate, the new site, which does not yet have a name, could go live as early as next summer. It was born in part out of the recent launch of Slate’s newly branded video Web site, SlateV, which Post executives are pleased with. Plans call for it to follow the same basic staffing model that has helped make Slate a success—using a few editors and assistants to run the operation, while relying for content mostly on freelancers.

No one’s been hired yet. According to a different source, Slate editors offered the top job to Elizabeth Spiers, the founding editor of both Gawker and the business blog DealBreaker, but were turned down*. They’ve since asked both Ms. Spiers and Daniel Gross, Slate’s regular business columnist, among others, to write for the site.

Slate does start the new project with one advantage. Thanks to its annual Slate 60 Conference, in which financial heavyweights discuss philanthropic strategies with the magazine’s editors, it already has ties to important business-world figures like Carlos Slim, Laurie Tisch and Justin Rockefeller, who could serve as advisers, sources or even writers for the fledgling venture.

*This sentence has been corrected from an earlier version.