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Daily Beast, 'Newsweek' To Merge


Tina, good morning.

TINA BROWN: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: And, Tina, some people will hear that news and wonder: Why do that?

BROWN: It's just exciting, because it means that, really, both operations get to amplify their footprint. It means that The Daily Beast's terrific, young, vibrant team - who've really, you know, created this frontline of news and the adrenaline of a site - can actually also now take that energy and have a different rhythm when they're producing magazine articles.

INSKEEP: Although when you talk about magazines, the current owner is the businessman Sidney Harman. He bought it from The Washington Post Company not too long ago. And it was reported, Tina, as you I'm sure know very well, he bought the magazine - he bought Newsweek magazine, it was said, for $1...

BROWN: Correct, yup.

INSKEEP: ...which suggests how the fortunes of magazines have really eroded over time.

BROWN: And it plays in a kind of great syncopated rhythms, if you like, with the fast, furious instant takes of the Web. So it's a great sort of dual platform we can offer our writers, photographers, artist of all kinds, as well as our marketers, really, a kind of double hit, which I think is very exciting. And I think it's also very exciting for the Newsweek staff.

INSKEEP: Well, let's remind people that, in the past, you edited Vanity Fair magazine. You edited The New Yorker magazine. You edited a magazine called Talk, which folded...

BROWN: And Tattler magazine, which is my first magazine. This is my fifth magazine, actually. But I think of my career in publishing as "Four Weddings and a Funeral."


BROWN: You know, we had...


BROWN: We had three magazines that worked, a Web site that worked, and one that didn't. So actually, I probably learned most from the one that didn't than the ones I did.

INSKEEP: But if I imagine what's happened to magazines in recent years, I would say that the articles have become shorter and shorter and shorter, and more like little Web items, really. Are you saying that you want to - having grabbed a magazine now, you want to basically go back into longer-form journalism? And do you think people will read it?

BROWN: But I think a magazine can offer something different. I mean, you know, you can go into length and depth on a subject that really comes at it from a wholly more marinated point of view, which I also think is very key in this culture, because we have a lot of information, but we don't have a lot of meaning. And a magazine can really bring meaning, and that I've always done with the magazines I've edited, Vanity Fair and New Yorker. You know, it's always been about not what happened, but what really happened. And that is what I think Newsweek can do.

INSKEEP: I have to ask one the irreverent or impertinent question, Tina Brown. Because the current owner of Newsweek paid $1, did you pay 50 cents to buy your share in?


BROWN: Let's just say that we all came out of this a very, very happy. You know what also makes me happy? That I'm the first woman editor of Newsweek, which is very exciting. You know that in the 1970s, the women editors of Newsweek launched a lawsuit against the management because there were hardly any women doing anything of any consequence on the magazine. And women's liberation took over and they hired the great lawyer, Eleanor Norton, and they went to battle for their rights.


BROWN: I feel that it - you know, a merger has created what the lawsuit couldn't.

INSKEEP: Tina, thanks very much for the time.

BROWN: Thank you.

INSKEEP: Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, and now we know, also, of Newsweek. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.