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Newsbeast! Tina Brown’s New Newsweek Hits Newsstands

Magazine redesigned with Daily Beast editor at the helm; Harvey Weinstein gets a coverline

Tina's Brown's Newsweek is here! Tina's Brown's Newsweek is here!

The first official redesigned issue of Newsweek with the Daily Beast editor at the helm hit newsstands on Monday.

Brown had been reportedly telling prospective advertisers that her "Newsbeast" would be something like "Vanity Fair meets the New Yorker."

Well, it doesn't look like Vanity Fair or the New Yorker. At a quick glance, the new Newsweek looks … a lot like the old Newsweek. A political figure — Hillary Clinton — on the cover, and a coverline touting an article on "political frenemies."

One difference: women. Brown's first issue boasts "150 Women Who Shake the World" including Clinton and how "she's shattering glass ceilings everywhere."

Another: oversized photography — which seems to be a trend among newsweeklies. (As the Awl notes, Brown devotes two-thirds of a page to "a photograph of a shoe."

It also appears Brown has leveraged some of her high-profile friendships for content. Like Harvey Weinstein, who contributes a column — the first in a series — called "My Favorite Mistake" (like the Sheryl Crow song!) in which Harvey recounts his:

My favorite mistake happened two years ago, when I had the opportunity to buy The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Two friends in London told me there was a book they loved. I read the book and thought it was great. Then I heard they were making a movie out of it. I got the people to show us the movie to see whether we’d want to distribute it in the United States, and everything about it in my gut said, “Do this — there’s a franchise here.” But my team said, ‘No, we should focus on bigger movies,’ and I let the committee overwhelm me. I didn’t listen to my very significant gut, and when I say significant, I mean size, geographically. And that was a big bloody mistake — an economic mistake, a company mistake.

And another, by CNN's ousted primetime co-host Kathleen Parker, who pens a column called "Women Make Lousy Men."

The design — engineered by ex-Maxim art director Dirk Barnett — is pretty subtle, or as Barnett called it, "dead simple." The new logo doesn't even look like a new logo.

And there are plenty of call-outs to the Daily Beast itself, including the URL above the logo and a Beast logo in the table of contents. (There's even a department called "Newsbeast," featuring an interview with ex-Obama economic advisor Larry Summers and an obligatory pop-piece on Charlie Sheen.)

For what it's worth, Barnett hints that future covers may eventually "look like no other weekly."

"It's sink or swim time for us," Barnett told SPD.com. "This is our shot to bring it back from the dead."

Finally, there's Brown herself, making the case for the magazine's existence in her editor's note:

We’ve all heard the argument that a weekly newsmagazine has no role in today’s relentless, 24/7 news culture, in which digital blizzards of information come at us at blinding speed. In fact, I was one of the people making that argument when IAC’s chairman, Barry Diller, invited me in 2007 to found a news and opinion website that became THE DAILY BEAST, which, in a new joint venture, has allied with NEWSWEEK as brother and sister in cyberspace and in print. NEWSWEEK is now doubly lucky to have Mr. Diller partner with Dr. Harman in business leadership.

Ironically, it was living in THE DAILY BEAST’s fast and furious news cycle for the past two years that revealed to me what a newsmagazine can bring to the table when it’s no longer chasing yesterday’s story. It’s about filling the gaps left when a story has seemingly passed, or resetting the agenda, or coming up with an insight or synthesis that connects the crackling, confusing digital dots.