By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Tina Brown takes over the Weekly Beast

Tina Brown (right) with Arianna Huffington.

The media world is abuzz this morning over the merger of the Daily Beast and Newsweek, mainly because Tina Brown finds herself running a print magazine once again. I can’t get too excited. I never acquired the Beast habit, and I gave up on Newsweek years ago.

I will say that Brown’s announcement, in which she essentially awards Newsweek columns to Howard Kurtz and Peter Beinart, makes this move sound less than revolutionary, though I’ve got a lot of respect for Kurtz.

Brown’s a quirky, interesting editor, and maybe she can do something with Newsweek. But it won’t be Newsweek — that’s over.

Back in 1999, I wrote about Brown for the Boston Phoenix on the occasion of Talk magazine’s disastrous launch. What? You don’t remember Talk? Neither does anyone else.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Discover more from Media Nation

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.


Howie Carr writes checks, too


What was missing from today’s Boston Globe


  1. Mike Benedict

    Can’t imagine I’ll be renewing my Newsweek subscription. Their top talent all left for Time already anyway.

  2. B.A. DuBois

    In the 1960’s through the 1980’s, my parents subscribed to Newsweek, and so did I… until this year, after being a subscriber for 20+ years, I gave it up. Why? It was thin, it was dull, and it was no longer Newsweek, it was Opinionweek… and I didn’t want to spend the money for that…

  3. C.E. Stead

    Brown did a great job on Vanity Fair before Graygroan Whoozis dragged it downhill…

  4. Mike Benedict

    I think even Brown’s fans would agree VF isn’t the same as a newsmagazine.

  5. Bob Gardner

    A lot of people didn’t like what she did at the New Yorker.

  6. Laurence Kranich

    I started subscribing to Newsweek in college in the 70’s. I still have 2 years left, but it is getting the TV Guide treatment: 9 out of 10 issues go into the trash without being opened. Fareed Zakaria leaving was like lights out. Tina Brown will get me to read a few more, so I hope she makes it count.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Cassie: People who try to visit will be redirected to the Daily Beast. That’s one of the main reasons Barry Diller and Tina Brown acquired Newsweek. Wouldn’t make sense to have two separate websites.

  7. J. Keogh

    I was a loyal Newsweek subscriber for 20+ years and let my subscription lapse this year after the dreadful re-design/re-imagining. What I found interesting was that I never received a call, a card, an e-mail wanting to know why they’d lost me, or event to ask me to renew. Just bad business.

  8. BJ Roche

    I’m a print Newsweek subscriber who kept going just to read Zakaria, and also, to keep another newsmagazine in business!

    I’m also disappointed in Newsweek’s decline, but I still open it and often find one or two interesting pieces that you don’t see elsewhere–these seem to be written by stringers rather than staffers–like the recent takeout on the return of Chalabi to Iraq.

  9. Mike Benedict

    Here’s the problem with Brown as I see it: Strip away all the pretense, the glam, the self-appointed style decider, etc., and what do you have? A editor who, as far as I can tell, had one hit (Vanity Fair) that more or less was thanks to a single writer (Dominick Dunne). Since then, through the New Yorker, Talk, that TV show whose name I can’t recall, and the Daily Beast, it appears she has never turned a profit.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Mike: Don’t have a link, but I believe Brown made the New Yorker profitable by the end of her stint there — and at a far higher circulation level than it had before her arrival.

  10. Bill Schweber

    It’s the new math, for sure: -1 (Newsweek) added to -1 (Dailybeast) = +2 !

  11. Mike Benedict

    @Dan: Per this NYT story, in 1997 the New Yorker “lost about $11 million. That is an improvement over 1996, when the magazine lost about $14 million and over 1995, when the loss was about $17 million. But the ink is still running red nonetheless.”

    Brown left midway through 1998. .

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Mike: OK, then I misremembered. But I do know that under the previous owners, the subscription cost was high and the circulation base was small. Condé Nast slashed the subscription price to almost zero and nearly doubled circulation, hoping to make it up with advertising. That was not her strategy and she can’t be blamed for it.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén