Old and Ugly? Tina Brown Dumped by The Daily Beast

https://www.theblot.com/old-ugly-tina-brown-dumped-daily-beast-774837

Old and Ugly Tina Brown Dumped by The Daily Beast

Is Tina Brown too old and ugly? And that’s the reason her contract was not renewed by The Daily Beast? Our readers thinks Tina Brown is elegant and beautiful.

New York City will chew you up and spit you out. And you should never forget that. The parent company of The Daily Beast, IAC, severed ties with editor Tina Brown Wednesday, when sources told BuzzFeed it had decided not to renew her contract when it expires in January. It’s the end of an era, and a defeat by arch rival Arianna Huffington.

Tina Brown is the Hillary Clinton of the media world. People either fervently love or vehemently hate her; there is no room in between. But love or hate, you cannot help but admire her. Her editorial achievements cannot be denied. She’s been on top of the flashy, glossy, hierarchical magazine world, and she has skimmed its bottom. Brown was what one might call an editorial prodigy. Brilliant, snappy, sharp and sexy, she took the reins of the British magazine Tatler at the ripe age of 25 years old. She transplanted to New York City before hitting 30, with her esteemed husband, former Sunday Times editor Sir Harold Evans. She brought back from the dead Vanity Fair magazine in 1984, navigating its relaunch with a masterfully curated mix of intellect and well-heeled gossip. Then, she was named the first female editor of The New Yorker magazine in 1992, long heralded as the pinnacle of New York literary journalism. Many, like me, deeply admired her tireless ability to refashion herself again and again, hanging on amid an ever-changing content whirlwind. Brown was the ultimate example of creative restlessness forging new paths. Until she wasn’t.

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IAC, Daily Beast parent company conglomerate owned by media mogul Barry Diller, decided that Tina Brown’s contract would not be renewed when it expelled in January, according to BuzzFeed sources. The two had launched the site together back in 2008. It was sexy, snarky and sparkly . . . at first, as many new things are. But hard as it tried, it never became a go-to news hub like Arianna Huffington’s Huffington Post, or The New York Times, or New York Magazine. It did not become a purveyor of taste and examiner of culture the way that The New Yorker had been. It was almost too smart and sassy for its own good. Daily Beast email updates pummeling inboxes, once opened on arrival, soon sat unopened, left alone and unclicked, as soon as that e-letter oversaturation point hit (you know what I’m talking about). It was not shattering when AdWeek had recently reported that The Daily Beast could bleed up to $12 million this year.

Yet, even though it was not a shock, Tina Brown’s announcement Wednesday that she was leaving The Daily Beast left many of us stung. To see a once-ruling queen of the print media world go out like that. It wasn’t supposed to be that way, or so many of us thought. Brown posted to her 72.4K followers on Twitter, at her handle @TheTinaBeast, “sad 2 leave Beast but change is good. As Ben Bradlee likes to say ‘nose down, ass up, push forward!'”

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But maybe that was just it. Brown reached the pinnacle of the print magazine empire, and then, she transitioned to web to launch The Daily Beast (after, of course, having to kill Talk magazine, her Harvey Weinstein-backed launch that lasted three years). Seemed interesting, but how does one really top handling the highest, most esteemed editorial position at The New Yorker, the magazine in which one still has to look for female bylines (and can make a master’s thesis out of counting them month over month, year over year, such as yours truly did, along with a pile of other literary magazines).

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We all saw this coming, right? Many of us wondered why such talent would not jump ship when decisions, such as partnering with a barely breathing Newsweek magazine were made. How could linking arms with a dead weight (news dailies were simply irrelevant in an online era) elevate your brand? Fine, try the experiment. But why not swiftly depart when IAC killed the print version of Newsweek in October 2012. Or when it subsequently sold the online version of the magazine. Scram, Tina, scram. Go off and do what you do. Start something, rule something, make us want to read something. But nope. She stayed by her beast.

Digital media differs from print in a few key ways. There tends to be less hierarchy; start-ups, especially, are a level playing field. All players are welcome. Those who are fastest and offer the most stimulating mix of smart information with a dollop of voice can win, regardless of how household their brand (look no further than the fact that BuzzFeed ran this exclusive, and how it is now arguably a recognizable brand, but it came out of nowhere). It’s not a matter of waiting your turn on the wild, wild web; it’s a matter of going with your gut, taking risks and finding your seat.

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What’s next for Brown? It’s been reported that the media legend will launch Tina Brown Live Media, which will host flash debates, salons and summits. Tina Brown has given New York City media 30 good years. And what did she get in return? Walking papers. But her name will always symbolize trailblazing new paths in the mediascape that simply did not exist before she was there. As I like to say, these days you’ve got to go indie or go new field. Save yourself. Fit your work into your life, not your life into your work. That is the new dream.

 

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