You have to be “B to the W” to play on Tina Brown’s team. Even as her combined Newsweek-Daily Beast is trying to claw its way back with readers and advertisers, it’s been scoring wins in the New York Media Softball League, trouncing The Wall Street Journal and The Economist. The team will be sporting a new slogan when it takes on Forbes on Thursday—"Softballs to the Wall." It's a riff off last month’s New York Times Magazine profile on Brown in which Brown said she demands her employees be fully committed, or “balls to the wall.”
The team might have some more time to practice now that Newsweek is going dark for four weeks this summer, one more than originally planned, as it tries to staunch the flow of red ink. A rep said the magazine was taking the extra week to accommodate an extra issue later in the year focused on election coverage.
While Newsweek’s first-quarter ad pages were down 31 percent versus the same period a year earlier, the magazine has picked up some momentum since Brown's mid-March redesign. May and June pages are 50 percent ahead of April, although that was when the issue was at a 6 ad-page low. In another positive sign, subscription orders from blow-in cards, which are a significant circulation source, are up 25 percent year over year since the March redesign, the magazine says.