Newsweek-Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown has shuffled top editors — again — bringing in an old Newsweek.com hand to replace departing executive editor Jane Spencer, who's going on a sabbatical.
Deidre Depke, the former editor of Newsweek.com, will return to the company as the executive editor of the Daily Beast, which also hosts Newsweek's digital content. Spencer was given that position during an editorial shake-up in November, but she has run the day-to-day operations of the site since the Beast-Newsweek merger.
She will still contribute to the IAC-owned news operation as an International editor-at-large during her six month travel sabbatical, a break she recently approached Brown about.
"With her relentless energy and creative editorial flair, Jane was a primary partner in launching The Daily Beast in 2008 and has been essential in transforming our once-tiny start up into a thriving, rapidly growing global news and opinion site that last month hit a record traffic high just shy of 12 million unique visitors a month,” Brown wrote.
Depke, who will report directly to Brown, will take over from Spencer in overseeing the daily editorial operations of a site that, as Brown mentioned, just set a traffic record in January with 11.83 million unique visitors.
"I’m excited that we are able to turn to an experienced and creative force in digital journalism in Deidre Depke to continue the explosive growth of The Daily Beast," Brown wrote in a blog post.
Depke most recently served as general manager of theweek.com.
Spencer was a founding editor of the Daily Beast, and oversaw the integration of Newsweek.com content and Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish blog.
Brown, the former New Yorker and Vanity Fair editor, also announced that Tom Watson will take over as managing editor of the combined operations, Louise Roug will become foreign editor and Jesse Wegman will join the company as a senior editor.
Newsweek and the Daily Beast merged in November of 2010, and there have been reports of discontent within the newsroom. Brown, often through NewsBeast spokesman Andrew Kirk, has always rejected that assessment, arguing that ad pages were coming back and that a turnaround was still under way.
According to Kirk, ad pages were up 43 percent in January, and Brown tweeted earlier this month that the website set a new record for traffic.