Friday, November 12, 2010

Congrats to Newsweek and The Daily Beast and Tina Brown

So Newsweek's new owner, Sidney Harman, and Tina Brown's Daily Beast team have finally found a way to agree on a joint venture that will merge the print Newsweek and the online Daily Beast.

Good for them. I had written off Newsweek for dead after its radical repositioning and eventual sale by the Washington Post Co. I don't know for certain that the new company will be a success, but if anyone can make it a success, I think Tina Brown can. She's smart, brave, and a powerhouse. That combo has earned her a legion of critics (including some past colleagues), but she knows media and clearly still believes in print, so I'm optimistic. Her track record is considerable and impressive.
My only worry is that I've now read more than one person involved in this joint venture promising to return Newsweek to its glory days. No, Newsweek will never be – and should never be – what it was. That era of the newsweekly is dead and gone. Whatever comes out from this new company will be something new. I predict it will be high-quality and provocative, and filled with the heavy-hitter writers that Tina Brown seems to be uniquely able to corral for a magazine. But whatever glory days come about will be new ones, not returned old ones.

The Daily Beast is owned by mogul Barry Diller, who will own 50 percent of the new company, The Newsweek Daily Beast Company. Harman will own the other 50 percent.

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