“A source with direct knowledge of the situation says IAC does not plan to renew Tina Brown’s contract when it expires in January. A decision has not yet been made on the future of The Daily Beast,” writes Peter Lauria of BuzzFeed, himself a former Daily Beast contributor:
Tina Brown, who sought to reinvent buzzy magazine journalism on the internet in the form of the The Daily Beast, and IAC have agreed to part ways.
According to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, The Daily Beast parent company IAC, owned by media mogul Barry Diller, does not plan to renew Brown’s contract when it expires in January. The decision has been made for the two sides to part ways, said the source, but precise details of the separation are still being worked out. According to this source, Brown, who made her name among the power elite as the editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, could end up taking the successful Women in the World conference with her as part of a severance agreement. A second source close to the negotiations said Brown plans to start a new venture called Tina Brown Live Media under which she will have complete editorial and business control.
Brown confirmed her departure in a memo to staff after Buzzfeed broke the news on Wednesday.
“I wanted you to be one of the first to hear my news, which is so very exciting for me,” Brown wrote to The Daily Beast staff about her venture, which will be devoted to summits, salons and flash debates on the news. “It’s been a hell of a fun ride at the Beast these last five years, working with Barry and that amazing young team of Beasties and seasoned commentators.”
At Big Journalism, John Nolte adds:
Brown’s tenure has been one marked with numerous missteps and the outright debacle of acquiring Newsweek magazine. A number of widely ridiculed Newsweek covers eventually culminated in the newsweekly being sold off — but not before Diller publicly made his feelings known that he felt the acquisition was a mistake in the first place.
Rumors have swirled for some time that Daily Beast was on its way to the scrap heap of failed vanity projects. As of now, other than the fact that it is on pace to lose $12 million this year, the future of the publication is unknown.
Curiously, Slate links to the BuzzFeed story without noting whom Newsweek’s former owner was:
The report of the impending split comes a little more than a month after the sale of Newsweek‘s remaining assets to IBT Media, which brought an end to the joint venture between the Beast and Newsweek that began in 2010. As big as the news of Brown’s possible departure might be, it would pale in comparison to the idea that the Beast, currently one of the largest online news outlets in terms of traffic, could be shut down.
Slate, of course, is still owned by the Washington Post’s parent company, which recently offloaded the actual Washington Post newspaper and Website to Jeff Bezos in a fire sale. But at $250 million, that transaction was obviously considerably more than the ceremonial dollar that the Post received for selling Newsweek in 2010, after the magazine surrendered its credibility and readership in its quixotic bid to help elect Barack Obama in 2008, the ultimate Pyrrhic victory for the magazine and its parent newspaper.