It's unclear what, if anything, that means, but it's strange that the Slate Group—the unit of the Washington Post Co. that publishes Slate, the Root, Slate V, and The Big Money—would reverse itself so soon after launching Double X to much fanfare just a few months ago. The site grew out of the XX Factor, a group blog launched in 2007 that was, um, a section of Slate. When we heard a rumor that Slate was pulling the plug on Double X, we asked Slate Group editor in chief Jacob Weisberg about it, and he responded, "It's going to become a section of Slate, but otherwise pretty much as it has been. Not sure readers will know the difference—most think it's a section of Slate now. There will be still be a homepage at doublex.com."
We asked Weisberg if there would be any layoffs associated with the switch and he said, "Emily Bazelon and Hanna Rosin still co-editing and running it with a semi-autonomous editorial team a la Slate V." Very strange. As you can see from the logo, Double X never made it out of beta.
Update: Shortly after this post went live Bazelon and Rosin posted about the coming changes to Double X. They echo Weisberg in saying that while they'll no longer be editing a standalone site, people won't notice the difference. But they add the change is being done for "business reasons" — making us suspect that there may be some job cuts as part of the move. Here's there statement in full:
After some deliberation, we have decided to fold DoubleX back into Slate. The site will now become its own section, with our XX Factor blog, articles, and special projects already in the works. Our aim is to create a more intimate version of the community we have built, with many of the same voices and passions.
For many of you, this won't much change your experience of reading us. We will have many of the same bloggers and writers, and Hanna and Emily will continue to run the project. The decision is being made for business reasons rather than as an editorial judgment. In fact, it's the editorial quality of the site, and the way in which it so perfectly embodies the Slate DNA, that makes this a natural next step. This is a new phase, not an ending-since we came out of Slate, where we started XX Factor, it's a return to our roots.
To give us time to map out the details, the site will live in its current form until sometime around the end of the year. We will tell you when we're ready to pack up our virtual boxes and move back into Slate. When we do, we will have a new commenting feature on Slate that will allow us to improve on the thoughtful and smart commenting many of you have been doing. It's been an absolute pleasure, and we look forward to continuing it.