Tina Brown Discusses The Newseek / Daily Beast Merger: ‘It’s Ridiculous To Think Magazines Can Compete With The Web”

Tina Brown turned to NPR to discuss, in greater detail, the merger between her site, The Daily Beast, and Sidney Harman’s struggling news weekly, Newsweek, both of which Brown will oversee as EIC. You’ll recall that we were the first to present the news that Brown was in the running for the position. You know, not to toot our own horn or anything. (It’s a vuvuzela, actually.)

Brown shared that the news is particularly exciting because it means both publications will have the opportunity to “amplify their footprints.”

Unsurprisingly, Brown, who boasts Tatler, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair among her places of work as a print editor, is excited to return to the medium, now with the knowledge that a bit of distance and time away offers. She says:

I’m looking, really, back at print now with kind of the new eyes of an expatriate who has been away and now can sort of look back and see something with (a) very different point of view.

…which is something Newsweek, struggling both in terms of readership and a diminishing staff as of late, couldn’t help but benefit from, right?

On the digital front, Brown shared with NPR that The Daily Beast will indeed act as the magazine’s online presence. She also emphasized the youthfulness and adrenaline of her Daily Beast team, perhaps in the hopes that a team used to the face-paced — and often sarcastic and

tongue-in-cheek (could you tell we were trying to get around using the word “snarky”?)  — style that so often goes with the territory when presenting news online can inject some energy into the Newsweek brand. She believes that magazines provide a “different kind of narrative rhythm” than the web and will offer her team a chance to be more reflective, reconstructive, predictive, and to provide a more in-depth, narrative account of news. She feels that media is a “feral animal” (hence, you know, “Beast”), and that it would be ridiculous, at this point, to believe that magazines can compete with the web — but they can, and do, offer a different, and still necessary, style of reporting.

When reminded that one of her previous projects, Talk magazine, folded, Brown laughed and said she likes to think of her career as “four weddings and a funeral.” It’ll be interesting to see how her fifth magazine, Newsweek, fares when the honeymoon is over.