I’m delighted to announce that Cyrus Krohn has been promoted to publisher of Slate. Cyrus, whose promotion is effective today, has made tremendous contributions to Slate from the very beginning, all the way back in 1996. For the first few years he worked on the editorial side, as Slate’s managing editor. He joined the dark side shortly after I became publisher in early 1999. Since then, Cyrus has been tireless, resourceful, and persuasive in building Slate’s client list and advertising revenue. Over the past three years, that revenue has increased tenfold, due in large part to Cyrus’ efforts. During the same period, Slate’s audience has grown to 4 million readers per month according to Jupiter Media Metrix, roughly the same size as Time magazine’s weekly circulation.
If “paying your dues” were the criterion for getting the job, Cy would have it nailed.
But the real reason he’s gotten this opportunity is his ability to lead Slate into the promised land of profitability. I expect to be wringing every ounce of effort out of him as we close in on this long-standing goal. Cyrus will be the one who makes sure we remain focused on serving our advertising customers just as capably as his colleagues on the editorial side serve our readers.
As I hand over the keys to Cyrus, I’m incredibly excited about the next couple of years for Slate. We’ve established a highly respected media brand and built an audience that is remarkable both for its size and its quality. Despite enduring the worst ad market in the last 50 years, Slate’s ad revenues have increased 17 percent so far this year in comparison to the same period in 2001. We’ve added several blue-chip clients such as Lexus, Toyota, Crest Whitestrips, Absolut, Saturn.
As the overall ad market improves—and the online ad market continues to develop—Slate will continue to grow its revenue base. My prediction is that 2003 will be notable as the year when significant brand advertising shifts to the Internet. With a growing audience of influential, smart, and affluent readers, Slate stands ready to harvest an outsized share of the crop.
As for me, I’ll fade into the background a bit as far as Slate’s day-to-day operations are concerned. In my new job as general manager of the MSN News and Information Division, I manage Slate and MSNBC.com for MSN. It’s pretty cool to get to work with two groups as talented and hard-working as the staffs of Slate and MSNBC.
The most exciting aspect of my new job is the momentum that MSN has generated in the marketplace with advertisers and consumers. We’ve taken a few years to get the hang of this business, but I’ve never seen the place more focused or energized than it is now. With Cyrus in place, I know the energy will continue to flow at Slate as well.
Here’s a Q and A I recently conducted with Cyrus about his new role (I always wanted to be a journalist):
Scott Moore: Cyrus, is it true that you got the job as publisher of Slate because you’re a Republican?
Cyrus Krohn: Only a conservative publisher can make money as fast as our liberal editors spend it.
Moore: Let’s see, you recently got married, bought a house, and have a baby on the way. Think you can handle the stress of a big new job and an overbearing boss on top of all that?
Krohn: I’m a bit nervous about the baby and the house. The overbearing boss I’m used to.
Moore: You’ve said your goal is to see Slate to profitability. Your predecessors in the job failed to make it happen. What makes you think you’re special?
Krohn: They failed but both got promoted anyway, so I’m not too worried.
Moore: Sure you still want the job?
Krohn: Well, now that you ask, I am having some doubts. I get a raise, right?