Posts tagged internal memos

Internal Memo

We just got word that John Avlon, who has been writing with The Beast since 2008, was promoted to political director. Many congratulations to John!

Here’s the email from Tina: 

To: All Staff

From: Tina Brown 

I am very pleased to share the news that John Avlon has been promoted to Political Director for Newsweek & The Daily Beast.

John has been with The Beast since 2008 as senior columnist, juggling his online and video commentary for us with his role as a CNN contributor and finding time to write 3 books - Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America (published by us - and endorsed by President Clinton), and co-authoring two volumes of “Deadline Artists”. He was Rudy Giuliani’s chief speechwriter while he served as mayor and is also the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics. John won the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ award for best online column in 2012 - he will continue to write his column in his new role.

Says John, ‘over the past four years, I’ve enjoyed working with Tina and the talented writers at The Daily Beast and Newsweek spanning the spectrum of left, right and center. I’m looking forward to building on our reputation for excellence and edge in this new role, working with what I believe is the best team in the business.’

Please join me in congratulating John on this promotion!

Tina

Jeff Bewkes’ Memo to Staff

While we’re at it, let’s go ahead and post Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes’ memo to staff as well, in which he shares the news about “the plan that will result in Time Inc. being an independent, publicly traded company.” 

I want to share with you the news that our Board of Directors has authorized us to proceed with a plan that will result in Time Inc. being an independent, publicly traded company.

Time Inc. is a great and accomplished journalistic institution, the undisputed leader in its industry, and home to some of the best brands and most talented people in media. Under the proposed structure, none of that will change and all of Time Inc.’s magazines will stay in the portfolio. This decision comes after a thorough review of options that would position Time Inc. for the most attractive growth opportunities while also best serving the interests of Time Warner Inc. and our shareholders. As you know, Time Warner successfully completed similar separations in the past few years with Time Warner Cable and AOL. Both of those companies have thrived independently, and I anticipate the same for Time Inc.

We expect to complete the spin before year-end, and management will share more details of what that means for the company and for you as soon as they are available. Laura has suggested to me that we find another CEO for the new public company, and I have agreed. She will however be staying on through this process and leading Time Inc. as it prepares to become a stand-alone company and helping  me and Time Warner management on the CEO search.  Laura has been a great partner who has given Time Inc. forward momentum over the past year, and I want to express my deep gratitude for her leadership.

Although change can be unsettling, I am confident that you have the fortitude to stay focused on what Time Inc. does better than anyone: produce great journalism that your readers and audiences love. That great legacy will live on as Time Inc. embarks on this new journey as a publicly-traded company.

nwktumblr is sending best wishes and good vibes to our friends and former colleagues at Time, and wishing everybody the best.

Laura Lang’s Memo to Staff

Departing Time Inc. CEO Laura Lang sent this memo to staff in regards to the publishing company’s spinning-off into an independent, publicly-traded company.

Today’s news that Time Warner plans to spin off Time Inc. is something that everyone is just beginning to digest. While there are many questions that can only be answered in time, one thing is already clear: the hard work we have done over the past year in maintaining our core business while at the same time becoming more digitally focused has positioned the company well. Time Inc. has incredible talent and great brands that will continue to lead our industry.

The planned spin-off has also made me reflect on what is the best path for me and the company going forward.  After considerable thought, I have decided that taking the company through a transition to the public markets is not where my passion lies. Jeff has been extremely supportive and I am committed to working together with him on recruiting the right person to lead Time Inc. at the spin. 

I want to thank all of you for your support over the past year.  You welcomed me warmly and jumped in enthusiastically as we charted a course. I look forward to working with you as we continue to make progress.

LL

Memo From Tina Brown to All Staff Re: Newsweek’s Digital Future

This email from Tina hit staff inboxes a little before 7:00am this morning. Newsweek’s going all digital. Last edition will be the December 31st issue. Ch-ch-changes.

To: All Staff

We are announcing this morning an important development at Newsweek and The Daily Beast. Newsweek will transition to an all-digital format in early 2013. As part of this transition, the last print edition in the U.S. will be our December 31st issue. Meanwhile, Newsweek will expand its rapidly growing tablet and online presence, as well as its successful global partnerships and events business.

Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context. Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscriptions and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.

Four years ago we launched The Daily Beast. Two years later, we merged our business with the iconic Newsweek magazine - which The Washington Post Company had sold to Dr. Sidney Harman. Since the merger, both The Daily Beast and Newsweek have continued to post and publish distinctive journalism and have demonstrated explosive online growth in the process. The Daily Beast now attracts more than 15 million unique visitors a month, a 70 percent increase in the past year alone - a healthy portion of this traffic generated each week by Newsweek’s strong original journalism.

At the same time, our business has been increasingly affected by the challenging print advertising environment, while Newsweek’s online and e-reader content has built a rapidly growing audience through the Apple, Kindle, Zinio and Nook stores as well on The Daily Beast. Tablet-use has grown rapidly among our readers and with it the opportunity to sustain editorial excellence through swift, easy digital distribution - a superb global platform for our award-winning journalism.  By year’s end, tablet users in the United States alone are expected to exceed 70 million, up from 13 million just two years ago.

Currently, 39 percent of Americans say they get their news from an online source, according to a Pew Research Center study released last month. In our judgment, we have reached a tipping point at which we can most efficiently and effectively reach our readers in all-digital format. This was not the case just two years ago. It will increasingly be the case in the years ahead.  

It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not. We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it. We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism, that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.

Newsweek is produced by a gifted and tireless team of professionals who have been offering brilliant work consistently throughout a tough period of ownership transition and media disruption. The inexorable move to an all-digital Newsweek comes with an unfortunate reality. Regrettably we anticipate staff reductions and the streamlining of our editorial and business operations both here in the United States and internationally. More details on the new organizational structure will be shared individually in the coming weeks and months.

We realize news of a big change like this will be unsettling. We wish to reassure you the transition is well planned, extremely mindful of the unavoidable impact on our staff and respectful of our readers, advertisers and business partners.

There will be an all-staff town hall meeting at 11am on the editorial side of our floor to answer your questions and address your concerns. 

Tina Brown & Baba Shetty  

There’s also a piece from Tina co-bylined with our new CEO, Baba, up on the website: A Turn of the Page for Newsweek.

Scaremongering

A note from Tina Brown (our editor) just hit the ol’ inbox in regards to a fun little rumor that went around this morning which said Newsweek would be going—gasp!—all digital this fall.

Tina: 

Barry Diller would like to make it clear that he did not say on the earnings call as reported that Newsweek is going digital in September.

He made the uncontroversial, industry-wide observation that print is moving in the direction of digital.

Below, in summary, are the points he actually made on the IAC earnings call when he was reporting the tremendous results of the company this quarter.

1. The Newsweek brand is strong, and far stronger than it has been in years.

2. We wouldn’t finance The Daily Beast at anywhere near the level of ‘12.

3. That eventually, over time, digital would replace much of print (hardly a controversial revelation).

4. In September we would be evolving our plan for the year ’13, with many options to choose from.

Best,

Tina

So there’s that! 

From the Department of Awesome Internal Memos

This one comes from creative director Dirk Barnett (who you may know from our ‘also-rans' galleries), announcing to the staff that Newsweek won a number of photography awards.

Scott and I are very pleased to announce that Newsweek came away with a whopping 15 awards from the very prestigious annual American Photography competition. Out of over 8,100 international entries, only 324 are chosen, so it’s wonderful news that we made such an impression this year! Congrats to everyone at Newsweek, Newsweek International, and all of the amazing photographers for such impressive work.

Here is the winning list of photographers and the subjects they photographed:

  • Chris Buck: Portrait of Michele Bachmann (ed: yes, that portrait of Michele Bachmann)
  • Q. Sakamaki: Snow blankets area destroyed by tsunami
  • Donald Weber: Tsunami coverage (2 photos)
  • Balazs Gardi: Afghan soldier wears a plastic bag on his head during a dust storm.
  • Andrew Hetherington: Portrait of Celine Dion 
  • Sofia Sanchez & Mauro Mongiello: Portrait of Angelina Jolie (two photos)
  • Alex Majoli: Refugees along the Libyan/Tunisian border (two photos)
  • Andrew McConnell: Surfing in Gaza (two photos)
  • Tim Hetherington: Libya coverage (two photos)
  • Michael Zumstein: Gbagbo falls in Ivory Coast.

Tim Hetherington, as fate would have it, was later killed by Gaddafi forces’ “indiscriminate shelling,” per his last tweet, while covering the conflict in Libya. It’s quite bittersweet to see some of his final work would turn out to be award-winning, but heartwarming nonetheless.

Big congrats to all, and a thank you from your colleagues in the nwktumblr bat cave for keeping photojournalism alive and well. We’ll post some of the winning photographs on the tumblr in a jiffy.

Some NewsBeast News…

cheatsheet:

This just in on the (internal) wires from Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown:

In January, Jane Spencer came to me to say that after four years of intense newsroom focus and responsibility she felt a great wanderlust to travel abroad on a sabbatical. We began planning how she could do this and next month that moment will arrive as Jane departs on the first leg of her six months abroad.

She won’t be leaving us entirely though: while on her travels, she’ll keep her hand in the Beastly mix as International Editor at Large, consulting for Newsweek & The Daily Beast to expand our already robust global footprint. And she’ll continue to write for us, which is a great boon because in addition to being an innovative editor Jane is a terrific reporter having won a Pulitzer Prize as part of a team in her days at The Wall Street Journal.

With her relentless energy and creative editorial flair, Jane was a primary partner in launching The Daily Beast in 2008 and has been essential in transforming our once-tiny start up into a thriving, rapidly growing global news and opinion site that last month hit a record traffic high just shy of 12 million unique visitors a month. Since I gave her day-to-day editorial oversight of The Daily Beast, the site has been on a tear redoubling its focus on original reporting and commentary, as well as expanding its video and multimedia offerings. And, of course, in the past year Jane has been key to the integration of The Daily Beast, Newsweek.com and Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish blog onto a single digital platform. Under her watch, the site’s monthly audience has more than doubled from 5.6 million uniques in January 2011 to 11.8 million uniques last month.

As a leader and manager, Jane is warm, enthusiastic and collaborative. She has built a cohesive and brilliant team who keep the site running 24 hours a day with high spirits, and genuine excitement for the news. During her tenure here, The Beast has been honored with a Front Page Award for Multimedia and three National Magazine Awards nominations for digital media, including general excellence, news and opinion. She’s a collaborative colleague with endless reserves of positive energy and is simply a pleasure to work with.

With this news, I’m excited that we are able to turn to an experienced and creative force in digital journalism in Deidre Depke to continue the explosive growth of The Daily Beast. Deidre will become the Executive Editor of The Daily Beast, reporting to me, overseeing daily news coverage on the site and the digital operations of Newsweek magazine and helping to launch new channels, products and other initiatives.

Deidre is a highly experienced editor of magazines and Web sites in New York City. She served most recently as General Manager of TheWeek.com, where she successfully oversaw editorial, product development, audience management and other key areas of the organization. 

She is no stranger to Newsweek, of course. She was Editor of Newsweek.com, building the site from a re-launch in 2000 to become the dominate newsmagazine website at the time. Under Deidre’s leadership, Newsweek.com won numerous awards. Deidre first joined Newsweek in 1997 as Foreign Editor, running the magazine’s award-winning coverage of overseas news. She is also a former reporter and editor at BusinessWeek.

Deidre will be here today to say hello and will officially start later this month.

I also am very pleased to announce that Tom Watson will become Managing Editor, recognition of the vital and critical role he plays in producing the site and the weekly magazine. He will continue to be the force he is at The Beast on our superb political coverage. His direction of our extensive political coverage in print and online has established NewsBeast as a go-to destination for news and commentary on the volatile 2012 election. With his deep experience and his knowledge of both organizations, Tom has been critical in integrating Newsweek & The Daily Beast into a successful multi-platform news organization.

We all value his wise counsel and friendship and I am delighted to announce this well-deserved promotion.

Tunku Varadarajan, who is editing the smashingly successful updated front of the book for all editions of the magazine in addition to his duties as Editor of Newsweek International, and I are beyond happy to report that Louise Roug is returning to the company after her own six months abroad. Louise will become Foreign Editor, overseeing our international news coverage for the domestic edition of Newsweek and for The Daily Beast. Louise will rejoin us next month.

As many of you know firsthand, Louise is a deft and enormously energetic editor. Since she left us last year as Deputy Editor of Newsweek International, Louise has presented and lead “The Globe,” a two-hour daily foreign affairs radio show in Copenhagen. Perhaps one of the reasons she inspires such loyalty among her writers and reporters is the fact that she has deep and varied experience as a correspondent herself. She was a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times covering the 2008 presidential election, an arts and culture staff writer, and a foreign correspondent in Iraq (for which she was a Pulitzer finalist) and the Middle East.

We are also looking forward to Jesse Wegman’s imminent arrival as a Senior Editor for Newsweek & The Daily Beast, focusing on news and legal issues.

Please join me at 2:30 p.m. in Prow 2 to congratulate Jane and Tom and welcome (back) Deidre and Louise as well as Jesse and to toast the company’s success.

Tina Brown

This just hit inboxes across the newsroom. Lots of good news in here (though we will miss the day-to-day awesomeness of Ms. Jane Spencer…but she’s not going too far!).

January! (External Internal Memos)

January was a pretty good month.

For starters, we launched a shiny new iPad app just two mere weeks ago and by all available indications things are going really, really well on that front. And then! 11.8 million monthly uniques at the Beast! Here’s the breakdown.

Newsweek’s app, officially still an infant in its second week of life, is among the top free and top grossing iPad apps in Newsstand, a result of the mere fact the app is free but the subscription, naturally, is not. If you’ve tried it out (and really, you should, here’s a demo), let us know what you think of it with either a message, reblog, or—ideally because these things matter for future app downloaders—a review in the App Store (plus the more stars you give us the more luck you’ll have in 2012—it’s science).

For the website, January brought thedailybeast.com (where we hang our hat too at thedailybeast.com/newsweek) our biggest traffic month in the history of all time forever—a whopping 11.8 million unique visitors stopped by for our mix of 2012 campaign coverage, entertainment scoops, and insatiable obsession with one Blue Ivy Carter. Andrew Sullivan’s monster story on Barry O’s successes didn’t hurt. 10.7 MU’s was our previous high water mark, which came in November of last year.

Here’s Omniture—which if you’re not a media writer nor Internet person let us explain it’s the robots we use to keep us informed how many non-robots are visiting the site. 

And last but certainly not least, there’s you guys. Tumblr! Thanks for all the reblogs, likes, and—when we’re doling out faux-advice—messages. It makes us truly happy and we love it. If you’ve ever got any ideas for features or series or random posts you’d like to see on the nwk tumblr, shoot us a note. We love mail. And we love the stuff you keep stickin’ on our dashboards. Stay creative.

Onward!

In Search of Something Shiny

Have you seen any super special new tumblrs lately? We’re looking to start a new thing where every week we shine a little spotlight on a fresh, possibly completely overlooked but nonetheless totally awesome tumblr by asking 5 questions of its creator. We’ve seen a few cool ones, but thought it’d be fun to ask you guys for submissions. Will you recommend one for us to check out?

Hey! We Hired an Intern!

Hello Newsweek Tumblr readers!

My name is Sam Schlinkert and starting today I’ll be your Social Media Intern! A little bit about me: I’m a recent Duke grad, a picky eater, and a huge fan of the Internet and all the fun things on it.

Newsweek/The Daily Beast has acquired me from the influential Tumblr blog Blake Lively Doing Things, a photo blog of the blonde Gossip Girl starlet doing different things with very literal captions. I’m happy to say I’ll be bringing those talents to head-up a new segment for the NWK Tumblr called “Politicians Doing Things.” (ed: He’ll be right at home—today we ran a gallery of politicians eating pizza.)

You can follow me on Tumblr and Twitter too!

Work at the NewsBeast!

Memo to aspiring developers, programmers, hackers, coders, and engineers: We’re hiring! Our tech team is rapidly expanding since the combination of Newsweek & The Daily Beast and we’re looking to fill some open news and application developer positions. NWK Tumblr would love it if some of you joined us in real life.

You can view the full job listing here.

The description: 

The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company is looking for an experienced, creative, and innovative web application developer to join our digital development team. This group is responsible for ensuring the timely development, testing, and release of web and mobile products for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. This position offers the unique opportunity to work on cutting-edge technologies. In this role you will be responsible for working in a collaborative development environment as well as interacting with business stakeholders to develop new system capabilities. Our ideal candidate demonstrates the ability to work in an Agile/Scrum environment and must possess a desire to learn and use new technologies. Strong written, oral and interpersonal communication skills are a must to support interaction with internal customers, team members, and management.

And here’s a selection of skills and requirements as listed, presented in acronyms and code-words that we can barely comprehend:

JavaScript, AJAX with JSON, jQuery, jQueryUI, ExtJS, HTML5, cross-browser CSS and semantic markup, JSP, PHP, Ruby, Agile/SCRUM, JavaScript-based analytics, DFP, Java, Adobe CQ5, and/or Apache Sling experience. 

If you know some, or magically, all, we’d love to have you join our team. We’ve got a modern, expansive newsroom, an unlimited supply of Skittles and Smartfood Popcorn, and a beautiful, 180-degree view of the Hudson River that *never* gets old no matter how many times you look at it. That’s a personal guarantee. 

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