Monday, July 30, 2007


For a brief reminder of how we got here, I present to you a 2003 era memo from the then-publisher of Slate.

Dear Brad:

As per my voicemail earlier today, I would like to bring to your attention an ongoing problem we're experiencing at Slate.

A prominent East Coast newspaper, The New York Times, has been poaching from Slate, taking key writers and editors invaluable to our evolving franchise. Several years ago I viewed these departures as testament to Slate's reputation within our industry. Being recognized by the media establishment as a breeding ground of top journalists was rewarding. But no longer do I hold these egress offenders in such high regard.

Granted the New York Times has been experiencing talent problems of their own lately, but that's no excuse to "brain drain" us. In my seven years with Slate, I've seen the Times make off with no fewer than five Slatesters. And just last week, they tried to hire away our esteemed editor-in-chief, Jacob Weisberg, according to this item in the New York Post. While the opportunity offered Weisberg was beneath his abilities, I'm thankful he didn't follow his former colleagues.

Our mantra at Slate is to support budding journalists growing in their profession. Should a better opportunity present itself, by all means go forward. But this trend must cease. Our staff are bound by the non-compete clause they signed upon employment, and I was wondering if you could spare some time for Slate now that the DOJ case is behind us? This tortuous contractual interference is beginning to have adverse effects on us.

It's improbable we'll be able to recoup our losses. But just in case, we'd like all of them back except for Paul Krugman.

I appreciate your help and look forward to hearing from you.



Remember, back in those ideas all the cool kids thought snarking on Krugman was the height of wit because of his failure to genuflect appropriately to commander codpiece.