Ray Chelstowski, former Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly executive, has been named the new publisher of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company.
“Together Newsweek and The Daily Beast will bring a unique and dynamic proposition to the marketplace that I believe will ultimately become the model that others will follow,” Chelstowski said in an official statement.
Newsweek and The Daily Beast announced that they would merge into one company in November. The details of the merger are still being finalized, but Newsweek will reportedly emerge as a stand-alone print magazine, and online coverage will be the domain of the Daily Beast. Newsweek.com will no longer exist. Tina Brown will head the editorial departments for both news organizations under the merger agreement. As the former head of the New Yorker and Vanity Fair, and the founder of the Daily Beast, Brown's success in publishing is thought to bring considerable cachet to the deal.
Newsweek was purchased in 2010 by audio-equipment tycoon Sandy Harmon, who later hammered out the agreement with IAC's Barry Diller to merge the publication with Tina Brown’s Web site, yielding The Newsweek Daily Beast Company.
Stephen Colvin, president and CEO of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, characterized Chelstowski as a “highly experienced media professional whose sales leadership has garnered huge success for a variety of media properties, from large circulation weekly magazines and websites, to event franchises."
Chelstowski is credited with reversing ebbing subscription numbers at Entertainment Weekly during his two-year stint there. The publisher is hopeful that the Daily Beast-Newsweek merger will produce similar results for the beleaguered Newsweek.
But others believe the publisher will have his work cut out for him.
“He must find a way to bring the best of the old media to the new media, and vice versa," commented Jon Friedman, the media and web columnist at Marketwatch.com. "You have in Newsweek a dying, old media property that is full of gravitas but not much 21st century relevance,”
“The Daily Beast is being viewed as a fairly hip, modern vehicle, but has yet to show that it has the great journalistic pedigree of Newsweek. The new publisher has the challenge of bringing together these two fairly disparate properties and making them work as one,” said Friedman.