Tina Brown

Tina Brown, the mercurial editor whose career has latterly received more attention than the publications for which she was responsible, has announced her departure from the Daily Beast, her experiment in digital journalism noted for its particular success in burning through the cash of its billionaire backer.

Now that IAC/Interactive has sold off Newsweek, can Tina Brown's act be nearing its end? The experiment to combine Newsweek and Daily Beast was an acknowledged failure. Brown was the founding editor of the Beast before she added editorial oversight for Newsweek when the two merged; it's conceivable she'll go back to just editing the Beast. But it's not hard to imagine her moving on. The question is, to where?

On Nov. 12, 2010, Tina Brown gathered the staff of her Web site The Daily Beast in the third-floor conference room at its Chelsea offices with its commanding views of the Hudson. Brimming with the fervor she has brought to all her endeavors, she delivered some surprising news: the Web site would merge with Newsweek, a once-proud but struggling magazine brand.

If a magazine still is what it's been for almost three centuries—an ink-on-paper "storehouse" of writing, published on a regular schedule—then the "media industrial revolution" (to use Tina Brown's awkward phrase) is surely in the process of rendering many of our magazines obsolete. Seen historically, The Art of Making Magazines—a collection of twelve lectures by esteemed editors, proofreaders, designers, and writers delivered over the last decade to graduate students at the Columbia School of Journalism—may have barely made its deadline. (Future versions might be titled something like The Lost Art of…)

The effort to save Newsweek officially begins today, with new editor Tina Brown's redesigned newsweekly hitting newsstands following months of speculation over what it would be like.

There will be no celebrity-studded gala with fireworks over New York Harbor this time. No brash predictions of upending the magazine business. The debut of Tina Brown’s Newsweek will, in fact, look nothing like the opening of her last magazine, Talk in 1999.

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