Newsweek and The Daily Beast to merge

Tina Brown Tina Brown is a former editor of Vanity Fair and author of The Diana Chronicles

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Newsweek magazine is merging with news website The Daily Beast, it has been announced.

It will bring together one of US publishing's oldest names with one of its newest, under the stewardship of former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown.

She co-founded The Daily Beast two years ago and said the two companies would be a "powerful dual platform".

Newsweek, established in 1933, was sold by the Washington Post to businessman Sidney Harman for $1 earlier this year.

The new venture, The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, will be jointly owned by Mr Harman and IAC, which owns websites including Ask.com and Reference.com.

IAC's chairman and chief executive is the billionaire Barry Diller, a former chairman of broadcaster Fox.

'Website savvy'

Mr Harman, who made his name manufacturing audio equipment, said he wanted to return Newsweek to its "glory days".

Analysis

The pairing of Newsweek, one of America's great journalistic brands, with sassy web upstart The Daily Beast is a merger of tradition and innovation. The print-centric Newsweek has struggled to find its voice in the messy swirl of online journalism - a space where the Daily Beast toys with expectations, melds genres, and, most importantly, thrives.

Where the Beast brings energy and spice, Newsweek can bring solid, boots-on-the-ground reporting to the table; the kind of serious journalists that pundits worry have become an endangered species, sidelined by the web's chaotic predilection for opinion.

Yet, as Time, The New Yorker and dozens of other publications illustrate, reporting and investigative journalism have not only survived but resisted commodification. Now, Newsweek will have a firm footing in both worlds.

The merger provides another important historical marker. In 1970, 46 female staffers filed a landmark gender-discrimination suit against Newsweek. They won, and today, so did Tina Brown. She now holds the honour of being Newsweek's first female editor.

Katie Connolly is a former Newsweek political reporter.

"In an admittedly challenging time, this merger provides the ideal combination of established journalism authority and bright, bristling website savvy," Mr Harman said.

Like many magazines across the world, Newsweek has struggled during the downturn with falling advertising revenue. It has also suffered as readers increasingly rely on free online news.

Business magazine Forbes bought freelance news site True/Slant earlier this year in an attempt to improve its new media services, including the use of social networking.

Forbes then closed True/Slant, taking on some of its staff, including founder and former New York Times editor, Lewis Dvorkin, who became Forbes' chief product officer.

Delayed marriage

Stephen Colvin, chief executive of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, said: "Consumers and advertisers value media distributed across multiple platforms.

"The merger of The Daily Beast and Newsweek audiences creates a powerful global media property for the digital age."

Tina Brown said she thought the tie-up would quicken the revival of loss-making Newsweek.

Some of the magazine's writers left after it was put up for sale by the Washington Post, and she highlighted the role Daily Beast writers would play in raising the profile of Newsweek.

Just last month, Tina Brown had written on The Daily Beast site that the deal with Newsweek was not to be.

But she confirmed that the deal had been sealed over coffee on Tuesday evening in Manhattan and the details of the deal hammered out on Thursday night.

"Some weddings take longer to plan than others," she wrote.

The Daily Beast says it has 5 million unique visitors a month, while Newsweek has a circulation of 2.4 million.

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