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Newsweek and The Daily Beast Announce Merger

Friday, November 12, 2010

Seventy-seven-year-old American news institution, meet two-year-old bright reporting Web site. That's the word from the newly-formed Newsweek Daily Beast Company, the joint venture that formed on Friday when Newsweek magazine and the online news site The Daily Beast announced that they would become one media group. Tina Brown, who is currently co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, will be Editor-in-Chief of the weekly magazine and the Web site. The Newsweek Daily Beast Company will be headed up by Stephen Colvin, who is The Daily Beast's president.

"This is a good move for Newsweek's prospects because Newsweek was out of luck for the past six months," Jon Friedman, who writes the media column for MarketWatch.com, said over the phone on Friday. "They [Newsweek] couldn't find a good editor...Daily Beast, which has a good name in certain online quarters, can now share the prestige of Newsweek."

He adds that the merger is also good for New York writers. "Tina Brown is a great talent scout," Friedman said. "She has great contacts from The New Yorker and Vanity Fair. I think she can attract very good young writers to Newsweek...She's one of these people that just breathes enthusiasm. Young writers will flock to the site."

Brown, 56, is the former editor of the U.K.'s Tatler magazine, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. The England native who now calls New York home also created Talk magazine and hosted CNBC's Topic A with Tina Brown. Queen Elizabeth gave her the C.B.E. (Commander of the British Empire) order of chivalry in 2000. Seven years later, Brown published "The Diana Chronicles," a biography about the Princess of Wales. Brown and IAC, which is run by C.E.O. Barry Diller and operates 50 plus Internet businesses worldwide, created The Daily Beast in 2008.

The Newsweek Daily Beast Company will be jointly owned by IAC and Sidney Harman, the audio manufacturer and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce who bought Newsweek from the Washington Post over the summer. "In an admittedly challenging time, the merger provides the ideal combination of established journalism authority and bright, bristling website savvy," Harman said in a company press release.

Many eyes will be on the new company to see how it fares financially.

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