With polls showing the economy as the number one issue of concern for the country's voters, you'd think now would be a great time to be running a high-profile business Web site, such as Slate's The Big Money. You'd think that -- but you'd be wrong.
Today the Slate Group announced that it is shuttering the online business magazine. "The problem, in a nutshell, is that the site is not pointed toward profitability on a fast enough timetable," Jacob Weisberg and John Alderman, Slate's chairman and general manager, respectively, said in a statement. The site's editor-in-chief, James Ledbetter, and one other staffer will remain with Slate; the fates of other staff members were not immediately clear.
The Big Money launched in September of 2008, with great hopes of becoming a prominent player in what then seemed to be an ever-widening pool of business-oriented media ventures. Writing in an introductory note to readers, Ledbetter, formerly the deputy managing editor of CNN Money and Fortune.com, noted: "With major Wall Street banks teetering on the edge of extinction, house prices collapsing, the mortgage market drying up, and real wages stagnating for years, it's little wonder that the economy is by far the biggest issue for voters this election year." Plus ca change ...
News of The Big Money's demise follows Atlantic Media's decision earlier this year to scotch plans for its own business publication. So while the economy remains the most pressing issue for voters, it appears many of them don't actually want more places in which to read about it. This is reminiscent of what happened with a raft of critically well-regarded films on the Iraq War that nonetheless flopped at the box office. The business of bad news, it seems, remains just as unpopular as ever.
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