When a report circulated last month that Tina Brown was eyeing the soon-to-be vacated editor-in-chief position at Newsweek, her publicist at the Daily Beast batted down the rumor, saying she had no intention of leaving the IAC-owned website.
But according to the New York Post, she might not have to. Keith Kelly reports that Barry Diller met recently with Sidney Harman, the audio equipment magnate who agreed to but the struggling newsweekly — and that the parties are talking about a potential merge that would somehow merge the Daily Beast and Newsweek’s website, and afford Brown the chance to edit Newsweek without losing her grasp on the Beast.
The report is pretty speculative, but apparently no one at IAC is denying it, either — including Brown herself.
"The Daily Beast's audience and revenues have grown beyond our wildest hopes of two years ago," Brown wrote in an e-mail to the Post. "I have no intention of leaving either it or my wonderful partnership with Barry Diller."
Brown exiting the Beast for Newsweek — despite the allure of a higher profile perch from which to direct the "proverbial conversation" — doesn’t make sense to me. A deal like the one the Post is reporting, where she can do both, makes a bit more.
And, perhaps more importantly for the once-mighty magazine, attaching Brown’s marquee name to the masthead could stem the high tide of editorial staffers streaming out of Newsweek's offices.
I reached out to the Brown camp for clarification on her quote. I’ll update this post if and when I hear back.