Daily Beast editor Tina Brown continues to wave off rumours and speculation that she’s interested in becoming the editor of Newsweek. But the rumours and speculation are starting to look a lot less like rumours and speculation.
Both Keith Kelly and John Koblin are reporting this morning that soon-to-be Newsweek owner Sidney Harman and Daily Beast bankroller Barry Diller of IAC are in “serious” talks to combine the two publications with Brown at the helm.
Kelly first floated the rumour of a Newsweek-Daily Beast merger a few weeks ago. But now he’s unearthed some details:
The overarching plan is to combine the Newsweek digital operations with the Daily Beast under Brown, who would also oversee the relaunch of Newsweek’s print edition as the top editor.
“The talks are advancing,” said one knowledgeable source, “but there are still a few hurdles.”
One of the problems, said another source is, “Diller is approaching it as a business deal and thinks he’s in the driver’s seat.”
The trick is getting two moguls and their accompanying egos to agree on how to run a joint venture.
“I think they’d both play very active roles,” said one source.
And there are a few other kinks to work out, according to Kelly, like where to move the magazine’s offices and how the funding will break down.
A “NewsBeast,” as insiders are calling it, would account for Brown’s rather vague batting down of suggestions that she might take over the Newsweek editorship. She’s made statements recently like “I’m not serious about the Newsweek thing” while asserting that “I’m serious about The Daily Beast. I’m committed to my Daily Beast.” In other words, she’s been choosing her words carefully in case the merger scenario plays out.
Also on Mediabistro, Newsweek is advertising a pair of other positions it is looking to hire. One is a product manager/director, which will be responsible for Web and mobile product planning and execution, and will work with third party partners to assess partnerships and licensing opportunities and implement new products.
The other is a director of audience development and analytics, which will be responsible for driving traffic on all Newsweek Digital products as well as overseeing digital analytics.
Sidney Harman, the 92-year-old former stereo mogul who was announced in early August as the 77-year-old magazine’s new owner, following a closely-watched three-month bidding process, takes control of the magazine on October 1.
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