Tina Brown

Andrew Sullivan has moved back to Washington, D.C., following “an openly miserable 18 months in New York” working for the Daily Beast, Sophie Gilbert reports in Washingtonian. His blog is now a subscription site, but Gilbert writes about how Sullivan got paid before:

That ability to provoke—to draw eyeballs—was what had prompted media mogul David Bradley to lure Sullivan away from Time to the Atlantic in 2007 with an irresistible offer pegging the writer’s salary to his page views. It was an arrangement that proved very productive, until it became untenable. By the end of 2010, Sullivan was bringing in a quarter of the magazine’s web traffic—and had to go. As he explained it later, “I got too expensive.”

Tina Brown promised him a share of the ad revenue at the Daily Beast, he says, along with a budget of about $800,000 a year, which was enough to expand his team (and give them health insurance). He went for it. But by the middle of 2012, the flaw revealed itself.

“One of the big advantages of it was getting some share of the advertising revenues,” Sullivan says, “which I think was only fair given what we were bringing to the table, and would have been a great deal had there been any advertising revenues. But there were no advertising revenues to speak of.”

Sophie Gilbert, Washingtonian


Luke O’Brien writes about Sidney Harman’s family’s decision to stop investing in Newsweek after he died. It’s but one can’t-miss moment in O’Brien’s story about Tina Brown’s reign at the magazine:

When I asked [former U.S. Rep. and Sidney's widow] Jane Harman recently if the content of the magazine had anything to do with the Harman family’s decision, Harman replied, “Tina had editorial control.” When asked if tasteless covers had anything to do with the Harman family decision, Harman replied again, “Tina had editorial control.” When asked if Jane Harman, personally, has any opinion at all about covers like crazy-eyes Bachmann or zombie Diana, Harman replied a third time, a bit more adamantly, “Tina had editorial control!”

Luke O'Brien, Politico Magazine


Newsweek reporter finds Tina Brown’s comments ‘not to be very friendly’

Bloomberg TV

Newsweek’s Leah McGrath Goodman, who wrote the cover story unmasking (maybe?) the founder of Bitcoin on Thursday, responded Friday to comments from Tina Brown and spoke about Newsweek and where she hopes the story will go next. Read more


Tina Brown: ‘I’m so glad I’m not the editor’ of Newsweek

Bloomberg Television

Tina Brown appeared on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers” Friday, and the former Newsweek editor said she’s supportive of the venerable title’s return to print.

But if its big Bitcoin story turns out to be a dud, “That would be rough. All I can think of is I’m so glad I’m not the editor,” Brown said.

She also said that while she “actually always thought there should have been a print component to the digital Newsweek,” the “ship has sailed.”

Read more


Daily Beast may be sold after Tina Brown’s departure

Bloomberg News | Politico | New York Daily News | Talking Biz News

A “person with knowledge of the matter” says IAC/InterActiveCorp Chairman Barry Diller may try to sell The Daily Beast, Sarah Frier reports. BuzzFeed reported yesterday that Beast Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown would leave the publication.

Frier’s source also said Beast Executive Editor John Avlon will probably replace Brown.

Brown, whom the Beast describes as “irrepressible,” will start a company that produces conferences. Another unnamed person told Politico that Brown’s venture “is really a marriage of her commitment to journalism and story telling, its going to be really event orientated.” (Thank goodness no one had their name on that one — “story telling” should be one word; “its” should have been “it’s”; and “event oriented” really needs a hyphen!)

A “source familiar with the situation” told the Daily News’ David Knowles the divorce was “totally amicable.” Read more

1 Comment

Newsweek’s new owners downplay ties to evangelical preacher

BuzzFeed | Christianity Today | The New York Times

International Business Times owners Etienne Uzac and Johnathan Davis, who purchased Newsweek this past weekend, tell BuzzFeed’s Peter Lauria they have only thin ties to evangelical preacher David Jang.

They conceded that they had a working relationship with Olivet University, which was founded by Jang. The relationship involves such things are placing students in internships, using the school’s servers, and getting design assistance. …

Uzac said he has been to Olivet several times and has met and knows Jang. He added that IBT has had a “great working relationship with” Olivet so far and would continue to explore opportunities with the University just as it would with other organizations.

Lauria’s report does not note that Davis is married to Olivet president Tracy McBeal Davis, that Davis formerly served as former director of journalism at Olivet, and that Olivet’s website had listed Uzac as its treasurer,” Ted Olsen writes in Christianity Today, which has previously reported on Jang. Read more

Howard Kurtz

Daily Beast and Howard Kurtz have ‘parted company’

Politico | The Daily Beast | The Huffington Post

A day after media reporter Howard Kurtz botched a swipe at Sports Illustrated’s Jason Collins scoop, he and The Daily Beast “have parted company,” Beast honcho Tina Brown said in a statement to Politico’s Dylan Byers.

Thursday The Daily Beast retracted the post:

The piece contained several errors, resulting in a misleading characterization of NBA player Collins and the story he co-wrote in Sports Illustrated in which he came out as gay.

Maybe it’s easier to write a lot of media criticism if you don’t read the media you’re criticizing,” Tom Scocca wrote on Gawker. Read more


Tina Brown: News biz has ‘less respect for the editorial process’


On Bloomberg’s “Market Makers,” Newsweek/Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown tells Stephanie Ruhle that working in the news industry is a constant battle between fulfillment and disappointment.

Brown says the business aspect of her work is more challenging than her love for journalism, a problem she says is widespread.

“We’re living in a time when everybody’s so obsessed with delivery systems and gaming the system and, you know, business … it’s actually very, very soul destroying. We don’t have enough respect for content anymore. In the end, without the great content, there are no numbers. You see again and again in the media this obsession with the numbers, this obsession with the audiences, this obsession with the demo, et cetera, but without the talent, without the people who do it, your company’s worth nothing.”

She continues to say that the news business has lost integrity because of this focus on the business by major media outlets.

“I think that there’s less respect for the editorial process then there ever was amongst business folk. The people who write the checks basically think, you know, there’s less the sense that editorial people could have some integrity and stay aloof sometimes from it a bit, not that you want to be arrogant, but that you really can say, ‘this is business, this is news.’ I think that a lot of people in media profession now feel too much of that has been eroded and there must be some respect for the integrity of news, otherwise we’re going to be a very ill-informed nation.”

Brown also talks about work-life balance, a timely discussion in the wake of the popularity of former Charleston (S.C.) Post & Courier reporter Allyson Bird’s blog post about why she quit the business.

Newsweek produced its final print edition in December, resulting in layoffs as the property prepared a plan for digital distribution, which began in January.

Previously: Tina Brown: ‘I don’t actually go to newsstands anymore’ | Newsweek covers, we will miss writing about you | How have Newsweek’s covers changed since it went digital-only? Read more

1 Comment

Newsweek, Daily Beast together have lost about $30 million

Tina Brown says The Daily Beast website is on track to be profitable this year, but Lucia Moses points out that getting the combined NewsBeast into the black by early 2013 — Daily Beast backer Barry Diller insists that’s possible — will be a daunting task. “If that task takes years and Newsweek can’t find a way to regain the relevance weekly newsmagazines have lost since the explosion of news on the Internet, then Diller and Jane Harman, Sidney Harman’s widow, could reach the point where they finally decide to cut bait,” she writes. “The idea that NewsBeast could ever become a successful operation has always seemed far-fetched.” On the bright side, Newsweek’s newsstand sales are up under Tina Brown, “but newsstand sales are only 3 percent of the magazine’s circulation, and they don’t make it much money,” notes Moses. Reed Phillips, managing partner at media investment bank DeSilva+Phillips, tells her:

I don’t think it’s a quick turnaround. Advertisers are going to take time to get comfortable that Newsweek is on a solid foundation. And the ad market’s jittery already. I think the biggest challenge is, it has to be redefined in a way that has to be engaging with readers. New York magazine did it. With the talent The Daily Beast has, there’s anticipation that that can be done. And it needs more of an edge compared to what it was in the past, before they bought it.

Brown said last November that it will take “a while” for her to make on Newsweek, and that the print/website combo is “a good model.” She told WWD.com: “You’re seeing this with Bloomberg and BusinessWeek, and Politico and its newspaper, and now you’re going to see the Daily Beast and Newsweek.” Read more


Get the latest media news delivered to your inbox.

Select the newsletter(s) you'd like to receive:
Page 1 of 3123