I’m starting to get very annoyed with Slate. There I said it. I really enjoy reading columnists like Christopher Hitchens, who have a smart, bold, intellectual take on the news. But trying to read through his piece “The New Libya’s First Mistake” is an exercise in frustration. Nothing in this posting seems to be where it should. The copy doesn’t flow well around the picture and ascetically it’s just not visually pleasing.
Also, I have to say the links themselves and the way they are placed are almost incomprehensible. In some of these links, such as this example “ready and open for business,” there is no indication of where this is going to take me. When you do click on it you’ll see quite quickly that is an example of linking for the sake of linking. I have noticed quite a lot of this in online material I have been reading lately and it is extremely annoying.
I don’t want to sound like I’m so down on Slate, because I think they are doing some interesting things journalistically. But, what is becoming apparent to me the more I look at the site is that there are money problems. Corners, important ones, are being cut. There is advertising slapped all over the front page, but I’m not sure to what effect.
However, once again though the Slate redeems itself with some of its photo galleries, which are simply beautiful. I think I’m a bit of a sucker for these things. I just really enjoy looking at them and I think they are the kind of things that the web excels at. It is also increasingly the thing I like best about our own website. Pictures if done well just pop online! If Slate could only make all of its other offerings pop in the same manner.
*postscript added-12/15/2011- Christopher Hitchens passed away after a battle with escophegal cancer. He will be missed.