The Daily Beast’s surprising hire of The Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz has revived speculation about a Beast-Newsweek merger, and Daily Beast founder and editor Tina Brown took to her site to address the rumors and other questions in a Q&A.
In referring to “some interesting discussions going on,” Brown didn’t dismiss the speculation outright, which is likely to fan rather than quell the flames.
Brown and audio pioneer Sidney Harman, who just bought the struggling newsweekly from The Washington Post Co., are said to be in talks about a merger.
Her comments were timed to the second anniversary of the Barry Diller-backed news and commentary site, and Brown said original news on the site has been growing since its start as an aggregator.
Kurtz’s hire as Washington bureau chief was a surprising one for Brown, who has relished challenging the media establishment. On her site, she said Kurtz’s hire shows how the site has been able to attract talent from traditional media as well as the blogosphere. Its other notable contributors include David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect, and Clive Irving.
“The natural creativity of the staff morphed The Daily Beast very fast into what has become a newsroom,” she wrote.
Brown also boasted about the site’s business-side success, with visitors now approaching 5 million uniques a month and growth in blue-chip advertisers, including Burberry, HBO and HP.