Beltway Confidential

Tina Brown talks about how she finally killed the ailing Newsweek

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Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Media

Well, that is not how she titles her essay for the final print edition of the venerable magazine but it might as well be. Brown’s column is a highly defensive catalog of stories that ran in the newspaper meant to illustrate that under her it did too publish fine journalism,  no matter what the critics say. And she has a point: some it was quite good. But you rarely heard about it because Brown was busy burying it under various publicity stunts and intentionally ”provocative” covers that reeked more of desperation that the zeitgeist.

Here’s an intentionally revealing passage from Brown’s essay:

There were other stories and events: the tale of Chen Guangcheng, the blind lawyer who shook the Chinese state; Hurricane Sandy, which humbled America’s wealthiest city; our debonair Mad Men issue, for which we re-created the America—and the American mood—of the 1960s; our “Heroes” issue, chock-full of stories of military valor, none more so than Tony Dokoupil’s spine-tingling account of U.S. Air Force medevacs DUSTOFF 73; and the election, which returned to power a man whom we had dubbed on a cover, to accompany one of several brilliant essays by Andrew Sullivan, our “First Gay President.” Which brings us to our covers: yes, some kicked up some dust. Why deny it? But our aim, each time, was to engage the reader in ways that were intense and provocative. Newsweek has been many things in its storied history, but timid is not one of them. In the last two years, we were never, ever timid, and I write those words with great personal satisfaction. (Emphasis added.)

Well, I hope that soothes the minds of Newsweek’s investors and former employees. Maybe, just maybe, the magazine would still be around if it were known for serious journalism instead of asking: “Is your baby racist?”

 

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