Jacob Heilbrunn

The Return of Tina Brown

The union between the Daily Beast and Newsweek is good for the weekly magazine and even better news for Tina Brown. Brown, the British expatriate who is married to Harold Evans, himself a crack writer, made waves at the New Yorker which she reinvented, turning it into a hip, au courant publication. Now she has a chance to try and reinvent hardcore journalism. The fact that Newsweek will be merging with an online publication is, in effect, a declaration of surrender by old-line media.

Newsweek, which the Washington Post dumped into the lap of billionaire Sidney Harman, has, like much of the media, been "struggling," as the polite term goes. In reality it's probably at death's door. But can Brown revive it?

My guess is that by jazzing it up and bringing in lots of outside contributors, she probably can. But even more helpful to her is probably the rise of the GOP. Brown, like Newsweek, has liberal instincts. There should be plenty for Brown to cover and skewer in her inimitable style. If nothing else, Brown's return shows the lasting mark that British journalism continues to make in America. Increasingly, American newspapers and magazines are dispensing with the notion that they can aspire to an independent, objective standard. Instead, copy is getting juiced up at the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere.

Now Brown is back in the fray. Her mandate is daunting. But if anyone can pull it off, it's Brown.

 

(Photo by Cliff)