Newsweek's Tina Brown Addresses 'Scaremongering' in Internal Staff Memo

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The editor writes an email to employees clarifying IAC chairman Barry Diller's comments that the magazine will go fully digital this fall.

After IAC chairman Barry Diller hinted that Newsweek could become web-only by next year, the title's editor, Tina Brown, fired off an email to employees clarifying his remarks.

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In an internal memo republished in The New York Times, and with the subject line "Scaremongering," Brown wrote:

Barry Diller would like to make it clear that he did not say on the earnings call as reported that Newsweek is going digital in September.

He made the uncontroversial, industry-wide observation that print is moving in the direction of digital.

Below, in summary, are the points he actually made on the IAC earnings call when he was reporting the tremendous results of the company this quarter.

1/The Newsweek brand is strong, and far stronger than it has been in years.
2/We wouldn’t finance The Daily Beast at anywhere near the level of ‘12
3/That eventually, over time, digital would replace much of print (hardly a controversial revelation)
4/In September we would be evolving our plan for the year ’13, with many options to choose from.

Brown later clarified to the Times that bullet point No. 2 meant the need for extra financing would be diminished due to greater projected revenues.

At a conference call to discuss IAC's second quarter financials on Wednesday, Diller addressed he future of Newsweek Daily Beast, which IAC now controls after the family of the late stereo mogul Sidney Harman said it would no longer invest in the struggling newsmagazine and website.

Diller suggested that the time could be near for Newsweek's transition to a web-only publication. He said that the magazine, which merged with sibling site The Daily Beast in 2010, is a stronger brand at the moment than it was when IAC acquired it that year, crediting Brown and her staff for the improvements, but also said that IAC's investment next year will be "considerably less" than it is this year.

"We're examing all of our options," he said. "Our plan is that by September, October and certainly ... (we'll) firmly have a plan in place for next year."



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