BEASTLY TURMOIL: In a significant leadership overhaul, Tina Brown’s top two editors at Newsweek are leaving the magazine and its publisher has been let go.
Newsweek/Daily Beast executive editor Edward Felsenthal and the magazine’s managing editor Tom Weber, both Wall Street Journal veterans, are out. Felsenthal, Brown’s number two, has been with the company since the launch of The Daily Beast and Weber is Brown’s second managing editor to depart in six months (Brekke Fletcher left for WSJ. Magazine in May). In a note to staff, Felsenthal said he was considering new career opportunities and, “I believe it makes sense for some changes in leadership as well.” Brown has named Newsweek senior editor Justine Rosenthal to become the new executive editor, a bit of a surprising move since she has only been on staff for three months. Prior to joining Newsweek in August, Rosenthal was the editor of National Interest, a bimonthly foreign policy journal. She has little magazine experience. Prior to National Interest, she was a fellow at the Brookings Institution and a director at Council on Foreign Relations and at The Atlantic Monthly Foundation.
Brown has also brought back Newsweek veteran Mark Miller to become editorial operations director. Miller worked for the magazine for 25 years before he resigned from Newsweek last summer, a few months before the merger with The Daily Beast.
The magazine has also pushed out its publisher, Ray Chelstowski, who has been with Newsweek for just 11 months. Ad pages for the magazine are down 21 percent for the year, according to data from Media Industry Newsletter. Rob Gregory, the former president of Plum TV, in September was brought in over Chelstowski as president of Newsweek and The Daily Beast.
Monday’s leadership moves did little to encourage an exhausted Newsweek staff. Sources at the magazine said that morale has been in the tank for months and one Newsweek source said that the “place is miserable.”
Perhaps recognizing that her staff is running on fumes, Brown told staffers in a meeting that these moves should make their jobs easier and that “in six months, we can all get our lives back to normal.” Staffers present weren’t exactly convinced.