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.
15 thoughts on “Tina Brown takes over the Weekly Beast”
Can’t imagine I’ll be renewing my Newsweek subscription. Their top talent all left for Time already anyway.
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…
Brown did a great job on Vanity Fair before Graygroan Whoozis dragged it downhill…
I think even Brown’s fans would agree VF isn’t the same as a newsmagazine.
A lot of people didn’t like what she did at the New Yorker.
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.
Shutting down Newsweek.com? Wow.
@Cassie: People who try to visit Newsweek.com 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.
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.
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.
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.
@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.
It’s the new math, for sure: -1 (Newsweek) added to -1 (Dailybeast) = +2 !
@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.
@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.
Comments are closed.