Brown posts 'New Yorker' surprise

Tina Brown, Manhattan's most bitched-about British emigree, has given one in the eye to the sceptics who have loved to hate her ever since she assumed the editorship of the high-brow New Yorker in 1992. Under her stewardship, she has revealed, the magazine is clawing its way back to financial health.

Details of the unlikely and quite unexpected success were laid out in yesterday's New York Post, which secured an unusually candid interview with Ms Brown, 42, and the magazine's president, Tom Florio.

The New Yorker is not there quite yet, but if the self-congratulatory assertions of the pair are to be believed, it will be soon. For years it has been assumed by the city's media watchers that the weekly, beloved by East Coast intellectuals, could never turn a buck.

"It has been four long, hard years - but it is exciting to see all our work pay off," Ms Brown said. "By the end of next year we should be in profit."

Married to Harold Evans, the former editor of the Sunday Times, Ms Brown has a right to be pleased. Since moving from Vanity Fair, she has come under attack from aficionados who accused her of trying to bring it downmarket. The most recent firestorm occurred when the comedienne Roseanne Arnold helped edit one of its issues.

"In the past many people in this industry treated Tina a bit like a schoolgirl, they wouldn't show her the business side of publishing," said Mr Florio. "But we did and she helped us get to where we are now."

Although circulation has risen nearly 40 per cent, the recovery has also been helped by price increases and cost-cutting not previously experienced by the cosy New Yorker culture.

Ms Brown denies she has taken it downmarket. "I am really proud of it. It's hard to have that kind of circulation increase with cerebral material."

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