Celebrity editor Tina Brown announced Wednesday that she’s leaving The Daily Beast to launch her own media company. She has been a regular guest on Morning Edition. Brown, 59, plans to produce live forums on news topics.
Brown has edited some of the most prestigious publications: Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Tattler. Five years ago, she helped found The Daily Beast — a news and opinion website. Now, the editor-in-chief says she’s leaving to do what she calls “theatrical journalism” before live audiences.
“What turns me on is being able to do flash news debates about things that people really want to talk about,” she says.
This is something Brown has been doing with her team from The Daily Beast. She’s produced live events on women, national security, art and film. With Tina Brown Live Media, she plans to expand to other topics across the country and internationally.
“We don’t just do what I call two guys and a glass of water talking about foreign policy,” Brown says. “What we do is find the most interesting mix of people, whether it’s journalists or sometimes from culture or movies or television, and we mix them in ways that are unexpected.”
Brown says she’s leaving The Daily Beast in good hands. But her exit also comes amid criticism of having spending so much money on the website, while at the same time pushing to buy Newsweek. The merger has reportedly lost $60 million for parent company IAC/InterActiveCorp.
In April, IAC owner Barry Diller told Bloomberg News he regretted the merger: “I wish I hadn’t bought Newsweek; it was a mistake.”
Industry observers say IAC’s status as a publicly traded company left Diller no alternative but to not renew Brown’s contract, which expires at the end of the year.