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Slate founder drops role as editorial chief

Michael Kinsley steps down as editorial chief at the Microsoft-owned online magazine but plans to keep contributing to the publication.

Michael Kinsley, founder of Microsoft-owned Slate, on Monday stepped down as editorial chief at the online magazine.

Jack Shafer, Slate's deputy editor, and Jacob Weisberg, chief political correspondent for the magazine, will take over as co-editors of the site until a replacement has been found for Kinsley, according to a company representative. Kinsley, who announced the move Monday, plans to keep contributing to the Internet magazine, but his title has yet to be defined.

Scott Moore, Slate's publisher, said that after five and a half years as editor of Slate, Kinsley decided he was ready for a new challenge within the company.

"This is a lot about freeing Mike to do something different for Slate," Moore said. "He wants to try some other things, including writing. He will forever be our leader; it's his vision we'll continue to pursue."

Kinsley founded Slate in June 1996 after stints as editor of both The New Republic and Harper's Magazine. He has also been a co-host of the CNN TV show "Crossfire." He has written for other publications, including Time, The Economist, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker.

The e-zine, which offers news and features on art, politics, culture and the media, draws about 2.3 million readers a month, according to Jupiter Media Metrix figures from January.

During its publication online, Slate has tried its hand at charging for subscriptions, but it withdrew fees after failing to garner enough demand.

Moore said the company is exploring some cross-media opportunities for the online publication, but he would not give specifics of any upcoming deals. However, he said Kinsley would spearhead the development of such deals.