In the past week, the Newsweek Daily Beast Company has lost three high-level staffers and recouped some long-lost Newsweek veterans, suggesting a major overhaul as executive management comes to grips with a disappointing first year.
Early last week, Tina Brown announced that she’d lured back Dan Klaidman, a longtime managing editor of Newsweek and its former D.C. bureau chief, who would flex his investigative reporting muscles as a special correspondent. Mr. Klaidman was among the last to ditch Newsweek after it was sold by the Washington Post Company to Barry Diller and Sidney Harman. On Friday, current managing editor Tom Weber, formerly of The Wall Street Journal, left the Beast after just six months on the job. He told Adweek he’s looking forward to getting back to working on his book.
On Monday, publisher Ray Chelstowski, the publisher, was reportedly dismissed, which was no surprise to Daily Beast insiders. One source told The Observer that he had been telling colleagues for weeks that he would not renew his contract. Mr. Chelstowski, credited with turning around Entertainment Weekly, started on Jan. 1 of this year. Many of his duties will be assumed by Eric Danetz, formerly of CBS Interactive.
Just hours after Mr. Chelstowski’s departure was reported by The Times, Ms. Brown’s second in command, executive editor Edward Felsenthal, sent a note to the editorial staff announcing his imminent departure.
In a 2009 interview with The Observer, Mr. Felsenthal, a former Wall Street Journal deputy managing editor, described the pace at the Beast as “exhausting,” but in his farewell note he wrote that building the Beast with Ms. Brown was the “most exciting” experience of his career and he was proud to have “invigorated” Newsweek and increased Beast traffic.
He added that Ms. Brown and company CEO Steve Colvin had been aware of his impending exit for months. One year postmerger, he believes it’s time for some changes in leadership at the company, he wrote.
Evidently, NewsBeast brass agrees. Later that afternoon, Adweek reported that the Daily Beast had lured back a second staffer who had walked during the Tina transition, Mark Miller. A new position has been created for him: editorial operations director.
Adweek points out that Mr. Miller’s former role at Newsweek involved digital editorial management. But according to a Beast spokesperson, Mr. Miller will be a more or less direct replacement for Mr. Weber. Two editors will succeed Mr. Felsenthal in executive editorial roles: Justine Rosenthal at Newsweek and Jane Spencer at the Daily Beast.
A troika of women at the top of Newsweek’s masthead? That’s something new and different.