The 'Newsweek' Game Of Telephone: Going All-Digital? Maybe
Barry Diller's remarks about the fate of Newsweek during an IAC earnings call quickly turned into the media version of telephone, with various outlets reporting differing permutations of
his plan for the pub. Or, as Mediabistro's Chris O'Shea put it, "To
summarize: Diller said something that could maybe possibly probably indicate Newsweek will soon be a digital only publication. Or not."
The media storm reached Newsweek's offices, reports Forbes' Jeff Bercovici, and editor in chief Tina Brown put out an internal memo, titled "Scaremongering," reassuring Newsweekians that Diller had actually just "made the uncontroversial, industry-wide observation that print is moving in the direction of digital."
Still, as Bercovici points out: "Frankly, it’s not her own employees Brown needs to worry about so much as advertisers. I’m told that the publisher of at least one other weekly title has instructed salespeople to use the fresh uncertainty over Newsweek’s continued existence as leverage to lure business away. If Diller was undecided about Newsweek’s viability before he spoke up on today’s call, he may have settled the matter with his remarks."
If you want a close-to-verbatim transcript of what Diller actually said (remember, he was on the phone, a device that even in today's wonderful world of technology is not always 100% accurate in transmitting voices) check out Peter Kafka's column.