12 November 2010

Newsweek, The Daily Beast to announce Merger on Friday

NY Daily News

Tina Brown to have editorial control

Tina Brown
Will they call it NewsBeast? Or Tinaweek?

Newsweek and The Daily Beast will announce their much-speculated merger on Friday morning, according to a report by former Newsweek senior reporter-turned-New York Observer media reporter Nick Summers.

The new publication will be a 50-50 merger and the editorial staffs will combine, Summers reported late Thursday on the Observer’s website.

Daily Beast Editor and former New Yorker magazine honcho Tina Brown will be in charge of editorial content for the new venture. Brown confirmed the report on Thursday night.

"The union of The Daily Beast and Newsweek magazine finally took place with a coffee-mug toast between all parties Tuesday evening," Brown wrote on her website on Thursday night. "The final details were only hammered out last night."

The publications were in talks to merge last month after Sidney Harman bought the flailing magazine for $1, but fell apart when the two parties couldn't agree on management structure.

"Why in the world would I invest, engage in something like this, and be hands-off?" Harman told New York Magazine shortly after the deal had reportedly fallen through.

That issue became clear to Brown, who didn't seem to like Harman having control over the magazine's content if she was Editor.

"Sidney clearly enjoys coming up with cover ideas and story ideas," Brown told New York.

On October 18, when reports emerged that the talks had fallen apart, Brown addressed the issue in a memo to her staff.

"There's a report on the [Wall Street Journal] now saying we have decided not to go forward in any more conversations with Newsweek," she wrote in an email. "The engagement was fun but the pre-nup got too complex. We wish Newsweek all the best. The Daily Beast is on a tear and any partnership we think about has to build on that incredible growth. Onward and upwards!"

But according to the Observer, the talks never really stopped.

Harman will also have a role in the new project, according to the report, but Brown is slated to have complete editorial independence.

Since Harman bought Newsweek, it has struggled to find an editor as a large portion of its staff fled.

Before talking to Brown in October, Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham resigned.

Harman's first choice, star reporter Fareed Zakaria, fled to Time Magazine.

And when it appeared he couldn't get Brown, rumors flew that Harman had also tried to snag Terry McDonell, Editor of the Sports Illustrated Group. The duo were spotted having lunch last month.

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