"To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible;
to be credible we must be truthful." - Edward R Murrow

Newsweek and The Daily Beast Conflict with The Future of Journalism

NewsBeast? BeastWeek? Neither of those names sound rather appealing and Newsweek and The Daily Beast sound better separately, but apparently that is no longer an option.

Newsweek has been my favorite magazine since 2003 (age 13), and conversing with Steve Tuttle from Newsweek on Twitter (and being followed by him, and being told I should apply for Newsweek internship) has been a huge deal.  When Jon Meacham wrote his final Editor's Note it was assumed that there were going to be new changes, but I didn't realize that those changes would include the web site newsweek.com automatically directing to thedailybeast.com.

On November 14, 2010 a Tumblr account was created named SaveNewsweekdotCom. The tumblr account posts a single post defending Newsweek and why the magazine should not have its web site shut down.

The New York Times' article Newsweek's Printing Press Was a Top Draw For Diller goes into great detail about what the plans of this merger are, but what the article is lacking are interviews from anyone that is at Newsweek.

The article is written by Jeremy W. Peters, and Mr. Peters fails to show that he is worthy of writing for the Times considering he didn't even try to interview the sources from the other side in order to make the article more objective - or at least show an attempt to care about what Newsweek staff thinks of all this.

Barry Diller is the owner of The Daily Beast, which is an online news source. Apparently Diller "insisted that with or without Newsweek, The Daily Beast was going to exist someday in print form."

Well, that's a bold statement. If by print form he means clicking the print button on the top of the web site and waiting for the paper to come out of the printer then I can understand that, but to actually turn The Daily Beast into a credible news source that even deserves to be considered on the same wavelength as Newsweek is just jaw-dropping.

Newsweek is a big deal. That magazine is award-winning. Although its journalism lately has been more "essay" it still has contributors like Fareed Zakaria who are able to bring the true journalism back to the paper. Newsweek at least has fact checking, copy-editing, etc. The future of journalism is not all about the web media - it really isn't. The biggest reason the web media isn't as good as print is due to the lack of editing and fact-checking. Sure, it's instantaneous, but it is also erroneous. With the print there is a print cycle, research deadlines, fact-checking, copy editing, etc. Now, it's all about getting it posted first - getting it onto the web and getting the most hits.

That's why I put a big difference with blogging and journalism. See, if this was an editorial there would be no personal pronouns at all - this would be persuasive using lots of secondary research to back up my point. With articles, there need to be first hand interviews and secondary research done in order to put out something worth reading. It's about putting out something original, and taking the time to get it done while meeting the deadlines.

What would Hunter S. Thompson think of this? What about Carl Bernstein and Ben Bradlee? Why is it all of a sudden that just because of the web being so instant all of a sudden the quality of work is overlooked?

Now, thinking of The Daily Beast merging with Newsweek as a magazine in a print edition is scary. The Times' article states that Diller has been communicating with Newsweek's new owner Sidney Harman who saw "obvious and overwhelming benefits to sharing costs and reporting staffs with another publication." The part that really shows where Harman's mind is is when he continues to say that the "attention he could garner by having Tina Brown, The Daily Beast's editor and a celebrated creative mind in the magazine world, edit his magazine."

Edit his magazine? HIS magazine? Yes, he bought the magazine and it belongs to him, but really?  All the attention he can garner because of Tina Brown? The article really lacks without showing quotes, or even a reaction from anyone who actually is on the Newsweek staff.

Harman has owned Newsweek for about a month and he's already making these huge decisions that are going to throw everything out into a big loop of confusion.

And the part of the article that proves that this is some sort of "sell out" is:

Plus, by rolling Newsweek.com into The Daily Beast, they could hope to absorb some of the nearly five million unique visitors Newsweek clocks each month. The Daily Beast’s traffic growth has slowed lately, though it is up tenfold to more than two million a month since the site made its debut in October 2008, according to comScore.

Newsweek.com will cease to exist after the merger. Readers who type that URL into their browser will be redirected to TheDailyBeast.com, where Newsweek content will be housed, Mr. Colvin said. The merger is likely to come with other forms of consolidation. One of the main reasons the merger appealed to Mr. Diller and Mr. Harman was that combining the newsrooms and business sides would allow them to reduce staffing. When asked about possible job cuts on Friday, Ms. Brown said, “We’re going to have to look at the whole business model, the whole editorial model, and we’ll have to make our assessments.

Wow. Selling out is something that is pretty common nowadays. Yes, Newsweek was sold and money is a big problems - but this just seems like it is going too far. The future of journalism does not seem to be moving in a positive direction in relation to this new announcement.

"Reduce staffing" sounds more like firing some of the Newsweek staff, and I really don't know how much faith I have in the journalism ethics, standards and moral of The Daily Beast staff. Does this mean that MSNBC won't be apart of Newsweek anymore? If that's the case then it is going to lose some credibility and those 5 million hits online are not going to be going up.

The tumblr account sums up the post by writing:

In the face of indifference, condescension and even outright hostility from its print counterpart; with little to no resources; with more high-level hires and fires over the past couple of years than anybody could possibly count—and a revolving door of editors—the small but tireless staff at Newsweek.com consistently created editorial work that made waves: via a Website, on video platforms, through multimedia, photo and social media. Whatever happens to Newsweek, we are all proud to have played a part in that.

There is so much more that can be said, and there will be follow up on this issue, guaranteed. Newsweek is not that far deep in trouble that it needs to look to an online news source that lacks the credibility and reliability for help, or at least it didn't seem that it was. If the case is that there is no other way for Newsweek to exist than for this merger to occur than so be it.

Reactions from Jon Meacham as well as "current" Newsweek staff is definitely something that will be interesting - and hopefully there's honesty.

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