Tina Brown, the British-born editor who for more than three decades has been a glamorous, sometimes vexed pole star of the New York magazine firmament, has finally had enough.
In an announcement that instantly created quantities of a commodity that she herself seems sometimes to have invented – media buzz – Ms Brown, 59, confirmed that she is relinquishing control of The Daily Beast, the digital news website she set up in 2008 with the backing of the communications mogul Barry Diller.
While Ms Brown would never be expected to utter the word “defeat”, her departure from the company comes after a long period of turmoil in the Beast news room and tension with IAC/InteractiveCorp and its chairman Mr Diller, which wrote the cheques to keep it afloat.
Especially unhappy was the experience of marrying The Daily Beast with Newsweek in 2010, a venture that included Ms Brown’s decision to close the print version of the once-mighty news magazine and consign it to the web and, to some critics, oblivion. What was left of Newsweek was sold to the International Business Times just last month for an undisclosed amount.
“Creating The Daily Beast at the original instigation of Barry Diller in 2008 has given me some of the most exciting and fulfilling years of my professional life,” Ms Brown said in a brief post on the Beast site today. “I am enormously proud of what our brilliant editorial team has achieved at the Beast.”
Married to Sir Harry Evans, 80, the storied former editor of The Sunday Times and The Times, Ms Brown crossed to Gotham from London in 1984, swapping her job as editor of Tatler for the top post at Vanity Fair at just 31 years of age.
Thereafter began several golden years that saw her later transition to the editorship of the New Yorker, where she cemented her reputation for nurturing top talent and attracting eyeballs and advertisers to her pages.
Her later stumbles elicited no little schadenfreude in an industry that did not always love her swagger. No one refused an invitation for the launch of Talk magazine in 1999 under the Statue of Liberty in New York harbour, but many of the same guests muttered with a certain glee about Ms Brown’s legendary editorial extravagance when the glossy publication, backed by film impresario, Harvey Weinstein, closed three years later.
Ms Brown will remain in place as editor of the Beast until January.