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Newsweek – Daily Beast Merge

Confirming widespread speculation, Tina Brown has announced the merger of the venerable Newsweek and the upstart Daily Beast:

What does this exciting new media marriage mean? It means that The Daily Beast’s animal high spirits will now be teamed with a legendary, weekly print magazine in a joint venture, named The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, owned equally by Barry Diller’s IAC and Sidney Harman, owner (and savior) of Newsweek. As for me, I shall now be in the editor-in-chief’s chair at both The Daily Beast and Newsweek, bringing with us as CEO my Daily Beast business partner Stephen Colvin, who launched The Week Magazine in the U.S., as well as Maxim, as president of Dennis Publishing. His dynamism has created 66 new ad campaigns for us since I persuaded him to join The Daily Beast a year ago.

It’s a wonderful new opportunity for all the brilliant editors and writers at The Daily Beast who have worked so hard to create the site’s success. Working at the warp-speed of a 24/7 news operation, we now add the versatility of being able to develop ideas and investigations that require a different narrative pace suited to the medium of print. And for Newsweek, The Daily Beast is a thriving frontline of breaking news and commentary that will raise the profile of the magazine’s bylines and quicken the pace of a great magazine’s revival.

I’m reminded of the AOL-TimeWarner merger of some years back, when a media Goliath was swallowed up by a lousy Internet service provider best known for giving its product away for free by widely disseminating CDs.    I don’t expect this one to go much better — especially given Tina Brown’s horrendous history.

At this point, Newsweek is nothing more than a brand name.  And, frankly, it’s not a very good brand name.  Not because its journalistic legacy has been tarnished but because half its name is “week.”  In an age of instant news and analysis, the lure of week-old information is minimal at best.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. I was a Newsweek subscriber for 15 years starting in the early 90’s. For most of that period it was clear to me that the primary intent was to inform, and that what bias occured was not of the intentional sort. That changed when Meachem was picked as Editor. The quality of the magazine decline drastically as it became increasingly clear that his primary goal was getting Democrats elected and was intentionally distorting the reporting to that end. Eventually the magazine became more or less unreadable and I left my subscription lapse.

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  2. Brett says:

    I’m reminded of the AOL-TimeWarner merger of some years back, when a media Goliath was swallowed up by a lousy Internet service provider best known for giving its product away for free by widely disseminating CDs.

    TimeWarner finally booted AOL last year, if I remember right. It might survive (AOL is trying to reposition itself as a content provider on the web, since their internet provider service has been dying since the early 2000s), but I wouldn’t count on it.

    That said, I really, really wish they would use “The Daily Newsbeast” as their magazine/online title. It’s hilarious.

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  3. Brett says:

    One other thing-

    I’ve been figuring for years that we’ll probably see a “great bottleneck” of traditional media sources (like The Washington Post and Newsweek) at the point when none of them are making enough money to stay profitable through traditional paper subscriptions, but online revenues may or may not be enough to sustain them. At that point, we’ll see a bunch of them “make the jump” to wholly online/mobile app news, and the first and biggest one to do successfully and profitably will get the spoils.

    I’m hoping the New York Times is that source (they’ve been very on the ball when it comes to Mobile News and News Apps), but you can never be sure. Looks like Newsweek won’t make it, though – the best-case scenario is that they more or less disappear into the more successful Daily Beast. Worst case, they absorb the Beast, dragging both down into oblivion.

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  4. André Kenji says:

    Time-Warner was profitable. Newsweek, after Meacham, is not.

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  5. Brett says:

    I`m taking back what I said about the “more successful Beast”. The NYT has anarticle on the merger, and apparently the whole shebang got started because the owner of the Daily Beast is losing $10 million a year on it, and is trying to desperately capture revenue from a print edition.

    It sounds like a match made in hell from desperation, that will drag both of them down.

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  6. If Brown is able to bring even a little bit of the energy they have at The Daily Beast, as well as hopefully some of their columnists’ great work, over onto the pages (and onto my Kindle each week)… I think it’ll be just the shot in the arm that Newsweek needs.

    Solomon Kleinsmith
    Rise of the Center

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