Slate founder Michael Kinsley launching business site for Atlantic Media

A month ago, Atlantic Media announced it had hired Slate founder and all-purpose pundit Michael Kinsley to launch a "new digital media property," but it didn't say just what sort of property it would be.

Turns out, it's the same sort as the one you're reading -- i.e. a business-news website. Kinsley confirmed as much in a phone interview on Tuesday, although he declined to offer many more details. The new site will launch in 2010, with a target date in January. To come up with a name for it, the company behind The Atlantic magazine held an internal contest. "We had over a thousand entries," says Kinsley. Although a winner has yet to be declared, "there are lots that will do just fine," he says.

The Atlantic's current web offerings include Andrew Sullivan's ultra-popular current-events blog, The Daily Dish, and The AtlanticWire, a recently launched site that aggregates opinion and ranks the most influential pundits. (Kinsley is No. 40 on that list, in case you're wondering.)

Whatever it ends up being called, Kinsley's new site will have plenty of competition besides DailyFinance, including one publication he helped to create, albeit indirectly. The Big Money, a business-focused spinoff of current-affairs site Slate, recently celebrated its first birthday. Traffic so far has been somewhat unimpressive, but Kinsley says, "there are a lot of good things on it."

Anyone looking for further insight into the thinking behind the Atlantic's new venture might want to try scaring up a copy of a memo Kinsley wrote last year for Joanne Lipman, then editor in chief of Conde Nast Portfolio. Lipman had asked Kinsley if he was interested in writing for the magazine; he responded by offering to help her identify and fix what was wrong with the magazine (where I worked for two years as a blogger).

Kinsley says he still has the memo floating around somewhere. "I think I even gave it to [Atlantic owner] David Bradley at some point," he says. "I would be a little afraid to see what I might have advised her. She did exactly what I said, and now she's out of business."
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