After 80 years in print, Newsweek announced last year that it would merge with the Daily Beast and become an online only magazine. According to Businessweek, last year, Tina Brown’s Newsweek/Daily Beast (she is founder and editor-in-chief) was set to lose upwards of $22 million.
In an interview Monday, Barry Diller, chairman of Newsweek’s parent company, called the whole affair a “fool’s errand” and added that, looking forward, he does not have “great expectations:
“There are some magazines that have no competition essentially in their field, luxury magazines,” Diller said. “Advertisers must advertise in them. But for a news magazine … it was not possible to print it any longer. So we said we will offer a digital product. We have a very, very solid newsroom, and we’ll see. I don’t have great expectations. I wish I hadn’t bought Newsweek. it was a mistake.”
You can watch the video here.
Capital New York believes Diller’s comments about “great expectations” are directed at what is likely another Tina Brown brainstorm ended up being yet-another expensive drought. In a piece titled, “Barry Diller Isn’t Done Regretting the Newsweek Episode Yet,” Joe Pompeo writes:
But what he hadn’t yet done until today is suggest that the latest incarnation of the magazine, a tablet-only publication that replaced the weekly print edition after it was shuttered in December, is probably a bust too.
Having watched and delighted in every step of Newsweek’s fall, the mistake Brown made was in making the weekly her personal left-wing plaything. For a time, her Obama-worship covers go to so bad that even Obama-worshipers made fun of them. What Brown forgot is that left-wing media-worship of Obama is everywhere. So other than making a joke of her publication, she did nothing to distinguish it from 90% of the media.
Why would people pay for something they’re already suffocating under?
Brown had a real opportunity to turn Newsweek into a piece of journalistic excellence. How many people are handed a “brand” like that. But rather than stand out, she made a choice to show she belonged and it doomed her. It is a shame too. This country is in desperate need of objective, intelligent journalism.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC