Tina Brown on her new web venture: The Daily Beast is your omnivorous friend

Mag supremo Tina Brown today opened her new website – The Daily Beast – which was yesterday password protected.

And at first glance it appears to be an impressive comeback from the British-born US magazine queen – with some serious technological and editorial muscle behind it.

The main features of the site consist of:

  • Cheat sheet: aggregating the ten most important stories from the previous day.
  • Big Fat Story: in depth aggregation of one story using an innovative flow diagram layout to link between stories. Today it asked whether Obama’s links with former terrorist Bill Ayers will sink him
  • The Buzzboard: recommended reading from a host of famous faces including Bill Clinton, Eric Idle and Christane Amanpour.
  • Blogs and Stories: Original content including a piece called Bastard Americans, by Andrew Neil and a feature entitled: Did Anti-Depressants Cause the Mortgage Crisis.

Brown appears to want to take on hugely successful US blog sites like the Huffington Post and the Drudge Report.
But while this site uses the blog tactic of news aggregation – it is evidently based on far more sophisticated technology than off-the-shelf blogging software.
And it has serious financial backing – allowing Brown to recruit a 12-strong editorial team.

Describing what the Daily Beast is, Brown says:

 “It’s a speedy, smart edit of the web from the merciless point of view of what interests the editors. The Daily Beast is the omnivorous friend who hears about the best stuff and forwards it to you with a twist. It allows you to lead the conversation, rather than simply follow it.
“The Daily Beast doesn’t aggregate. It sifts, sorts, and curates. We’re as much about what’s not there as what is. And we freshen the stream with a good helping of our own original content from a wonderfully diverse group of contributors.”

The site is run by IAC – a US internet giant which claims 168 million unique visitors to its 35 web “brands”, allowing it to claim to be the eighth biggest network of websites in the world. Other sites include Thesaurous.com, CollegeHumor and Match.com.
The Daily Beast launches with an interview with Jennifer Lopez.

Tina Brown of course has her own blog – which reads more like a magazine feature. There are few in-story links and it is laid out far more like a mag feature than a blog post.

The Daily Beast marks Brown’s publishing comeback following the disastrous closure of Talk magazine in 2001 after racking up massive losses.
She made her name by reviving the fortunes of the New Yorker in the early Nineties by, among other things, replacing 65 staff with 72 of her own picking.

Read Press Gazette’s in-depth 2007 interview with Tina Brown here.

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