As news of the confirmed merger between Newsweek and the Daily Beast circulated on Friday, National Interest posted a column that stated: “The fact that Newsweek will be merging with an online publication is, in effect, a declaration of surrender by old-line media.” We beg to differ.
As does Daily Beast founder (and former Vanity Fair editor) Tina Brown, who is billing the venture a “new media marriage.” The formation of the Newsweek Daily Beast Company is a move that harnesses the power of the Internet (not only by being the most SEO-friendly name ever) for the benefit of print. A partnership between the two mediums is not a surrender; it’s an acknowledgement by both parties that each has something major to bring to the table. As the premiere ad for the “Magazines: The Power of Print” campaign proclaims, “The Internet is exhilarating. Magazines are enveloping. The Internet grabs you. Magazines embrace you. The Internet is fleeting. Magazines are immersive. And both media are growing.” The Newsweek-Beast marriage will combine the skills of the Daily Beast editors and contributors, who Brown notes are adept at “working at the warp-speed of a 24/7 news operation,” with the enduring legacy of the 77-year-old Newsweek.
Despite its long history, Newsweek certainly needs a revitalization. After netting losses of $30 million a year since 2007, The Washington Post Company, which had owned the magazine for a half-century, sold the publication to 91-year-old stereo equipment magnate Sidney Harman in August for $1 in exchange for absorbing the magazine’s debts. But the decision to sell didn’t come easy to The Post. The NY Times reported that Chairman Donald Graham was “concerned not only with the magazine’s legacy but the legacy of his family’s stewardship of the magazine, [and] wanted the sale to be as nondisruptive as possible.” The new joint venture will not displace the current Newsweek.com staff; The current staffs of Newsweek, Newsweek.com, and the Daily Beast will be combined under the leadership of new Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown. The merger will result in the shutdown of the current Newsweek.com (even though it currently has more unique monthly visitors than the Daily Beast). Visitors to Newsweek.com will be redirected to the Daily Beast, which will publish Newsweek-branded content. Brown noted that “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.” Because there is an enduring and unwavering power of print publications.
An added bonus is that many of the names on The Daily Beast’s all-star masthead already understand the nature of the print beast, with a smattering of editors from publications like the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and more. and The Newsweek Daily Beast Company seeks to not only restore the power of Newsweek to its former glory-day status (as Brown called it) but to go leaps and bounds beyond that. And that is not a surrender; it’s an admirable move and we wish them luck in the endeavor. Call us if you are looking for a killer firm to do your PR.