The redesigned cover of Newsweek features Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, left. At right, the magazine's cover last May, when it was put up for sale.
The redesigned cover of Newsweek features Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, left. At right, the magazine's cover last May, when it was put up for sale. Charles Krupa/Newsweek/AP
When she launched the newly revamped version of Newsweek, editor Tina Brown closed the loop on two paths in her career: magazines and websites. The new magazine draws from her other venture, The Daily Beast.
"It was ironic, because I had abandoned print, having spent a life in print, and gone into the digital world," she tells NPR's Renee Montagne. "Now I understand how the two things can work together incredibly well, almost like playing in two different keys.
"The website breaks news — it's a hot medium of instant gratification. The magazine then can interpret what's happening in the world, can predict what's happening in the world."
Two highlights of the current issue include Christopher Dickey on Moammar Gadhafi, and fashion writer Robin Givhan on the John Galliano scandal.
And then there's the cover story, a feature on Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. Timed to coincide with the Women in the World conference in New York City, Brown says the piece depicts how Clinton, "all through her career, has been banging the drum about what women's empowerment can actually do for society at large."
And with revolutions taking place in the Middle East, Brown says, the role of women will reflect how democratic those emerging societies really are.
As for the magazine itself, Brown says the new version of Newsweek is more interesting visually, with a news gallery feature at the front of each issue.
"For some reason, Newsweek kind of banished a lot of photography in recent years," she says.
The magazine will also include a new feature called New Beast, "which has all that digital energy which we bring from The Daily Beast, which is sort of snack food for the brain."
While neither Newsweek nor The Daily Beast is currently turning a profit, Brown says that's likely to change soon, perhaps in the next year-and-a-half. Part of the reason is what Brown calls "a dual sell."
"Advertisers just love the idea of a dual platform," she says.
Brown says her goal for Newsweek isn't for it to beat its longtime rival Time magazine, but instead to compete with the many media outlets that vie for readers' attention.
The goal, she says, is to be "a must-read."
"That has always been true, actually, of everything I've edited," Brown says. "I've always felt it's not about this particular publication 'scooping' us.'
"It's really about, 'How do I make people want to pick this up at all?' "