Time was, Franco-U.S. relations stopped at “freedom fries.” But Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive is wiping the slate clean — the Slate.fr, to be precise. The French-language offshoot of Slate.com, launched last week by an all-star list of French newspaper and online editors, is the first, tentative play in what could be a major international expansion for the DC-based webzine.
“I’ve been wanting for some time to test out the idea that Slate, as a brand, can replicate a high-quality magazine on the internet outside of the U.S. context,” Slate Group editor-in-chief Jacob Weisberg told me. “This is our first example, we’ll see how it goes:- if it works in France, it will absolutely be a very powerful argument to try in other international territories … if it becomes financially self-supporting and sustainable and supports high-quality web journalism.”
Slate.fr, which expects to have eight staffers by the end of the month, will be run independently from Washington in Paris but, all the same, strives toward the same intelligent, online-only writing. It’s owned 15 percent by WPNI, 35 percent by an anonymous fund that has invested an estimated