Amid the social media flurry of the Academy Awards tonight, former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan quietly announced that he will move his blog, The Daily Dish, to Tina Brown’s News Beast in April. “[T]here are some opportunities you just can’t let pass by,” he wrote on TheAtlantic.com. Mr. Sullivan will also write columns and essays for Newsweek proper.
Mr. Sullivan moved The Daily Dish to The Atlantic from Time in 2007, brought on to spearhead the magazine’s drive for online advertising revenue. He was very good rabbit: Mr. Sullivan’s presence drove 30 percent of their traffic increase and accounts for a quarter of its unique visitors, month-by-month.
We wouldn’t be surprised if The Daily Dish’s move to the News Beast was in the works for a while. Sitting on a CUNY panel together in November, Mr. Sullivan alluded to the rumors that Ms. Brown would merge her website with the flailing newsweekly. When it became official, Mr. Sullivan wrote encouragingly about the advantage of personalities over magazines on the web:
“My view is that, from the beginning, the web has always favored individuals over institutions. That has only intensified with the impact of social media. There’s something about logging on to a computer alone to read, the intimacy of the one-on-one writer-reader relationship online, and the sheer millions of choices you have in what to consume that tends to favor trusting individuals, rather than older, institutional brands. […] The Beast might have done better if it had been called Tina.com. Individual writers who flourish at these places – think Pareene at Gawker – can take their brand elsewhere if necessary, and are often encouraged to do so before their personal brand threatens to rival the institutional one.”
And, what d’ya know, Mr. Sullivan did take his brand elsewhere! We struggle to come up with another individual blogger-brand of Mr. Sullivan’s caliber–editorially or popularity-wise–for The Atlantic to replace him with. But with the fleet of Atlantic aggregators opening up shop in New York one of these days, maybe the old-school institution is ready to fly without a celebrity co-pilot.
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