Thursday, September 12, 2013

Groundbreaking magazine editor Tina Brown leaving the business after 35 years

Tina Brown, who had major successes as an editor (Vanity Fair and The New Yorker) and major failures (Talk magazine and Daily Beast/Newsweek) is leaving the magazine business after more than 35 years. 

A story in the New York Times said that she is ending her fractious partnership with backer Barry Diller who was not going to renew her contract and would be starting Tina Brown Live Media, focussed on building a conference business on the foundation of the Women in the World conferences she has been running for several years. 
"It is unclear what Ms. Brown's departure means for the future of The Daily Beast. The Web site has lost millions of dollars since its inception, though Ms. Brown had projected that it would break even long before now. The executive, speaking on condition of anonymity because Ms. Brown was handling the public announcement, said it was unlikely the Web site would be closed.

"Ms. Brown said The Daily Beast "has given me some of the most exciting and fulfilling years of my professional life," adding that she was "enormously proud" of what the Web site had achieved."

Forbes magazine described Brown's career as a "soap opera" and said she had been eyeing the exit since May. 
"According to several sources familiar with her thinking, Brown was determined that her next role be one where she have more control over business-side operations. Meanwhile, it was becoming apparent to her that the conferences business had more revenue potential than the Daily Beast, with its relatively weak traffic and a tabloidy story mix that made some advertisers uneasy."
The Guardian said Brown's career has latterly received more attention than the publications she created.
"Never one to undersell herself, Brown reserved the most prominent slot on the front page of the Beast's website on Wednesday afternoon to declare that "the irrepressible editor", as the headline-writer called her, was leaving to set up a company dedicated to "theatrical journalism". 
"Many of the chapters in Brown's storied career begin with a blaze but end in bitterness, dispute or ignominy, and what the glowing report did not say was that her personal experiment in digital journalism, supported by copious amounts of the media mogul Barry Diller's cash, was at an inglorious end."
The British-born editor had been a star editor of Britain's Tatler, starting at 25, and what was considered to be her magic touch was brought to New York after she took over Vanity Fair in 1984 at the age of 31. She later became editor of The New Yorker. A glossy 1999 startup, Talk magazine, failed after 3 years. The Daily Beast followed and losses were piled on losses when she led the process of merging the Beast and the flagging Newsweek, which soon ceased print publication. (Brown, who has a CBE, is married to Sir Harold Evans, the once-legendary editor of the Sunday Times.) 

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