Tina Brown is leaving the Daily Beast, the website she founded in 2008 with aims of adding a magazine sheen to the messy world of digital journalism.
The star editor-in-chief of the recently split Newsweek/Daily Beast Co. announced Wednesday that she is planning to launch a new company called “Tina Brown Live Media,” which will expand on her sponsor-supported Women of the World summits.
“I am enormously proud of what our brilliant editorial team has achieved at the Beast,” Brown said in a statement. “And I am proud, too, of what we did with Newsweek in the battle we waged to save it from the overwhelming forces of media change.”
BuzzFeed’s Peter Lauria, a former Daily Beast staffer, first broke the news on Wednesday afternoon. Citing a “source with direct knowledge of the situation,” Lauria wrote that Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IACI), which owns the Daily Beast, is not planning to renew Brown’s contract.
A spokeswoman for IAC declined to comment further.
The story had been developing in bits and pieces on various news sites all afternoon. Over at Politico, Hadas Gold, citing “sources with knowledge of her plans,” wrote that contract negotiations have been going on for the last few months and that the split has been a “long time coming.” Gold added that Brown plans to start her own “event-oriented” company.
It’s not an uncommon story. As fortunes have dwindled for media companies over the last decade, sponsor-driven event production has proved a relatively viable way to make up for print-revenue shortfalls. No shortage of media pundits over the years have commented on how Brown, who formerly helmed Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, was rooted too firmly in the luxuriant print days of expense accounts and limo rides to adapt to the low-profit-margin world of digital media.
Capital New York’s Joe Pompeo wrote Wednesday that Brown had planned to announce the news of her departure on Thursday before she was scooped by Lauria. BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, meanwhile, posted a photo of Brown supposedly “yelling into the phone” at a Chelsea restaurant, although it’s hard to make that call from the photo itself.
News of the departure is not exactly a surprise. Speculation regarding Brown’s future has been extensive since early August, when IBT Media, publisher of International Business Times, announced it had acquired Newsweek from IAC for an undisclosed sum. The deal marked an end to the Newsweek/Daily Beast partnership that had been in place since 2010.
Read the full release from Brown’s press rep here.