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Tina Brown

Tina Brown
Tina Brown in 2012
Born Christina Hambley Brown
(1953-11-21) 21 November 1953
Maidenhead, United Kingdom
Occupation Journalist, magazine editor, columnist, talk-show host, author
Spouse(s) Sir Harold Evans (1981–)
Children 2 children

Tina Brown, Lady Evans, Overseas Press Club awards, and ten National Magazine Awards.[3] In October 2008, she partnered with Barry Diller, chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp, to found and edit The Daily Beast. Two years later, in November 2010, The Daily Beast merged with the American weekly news magazine Newsweek in a joint venture to form The Newsweek Daily Beast Company. In September 2013, Brown announced she would be leaving her position as editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast to launch Tina Brown Media [4] and pen Media Beast, a memoir of her years in the media world, slated to be published in 2016.[5]


  • Early life 1
  • School 2
  • University 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Career 5
    • Early work 5.1
    • Vanity Fair 5.2
    • The New Yorker 5.3
    • Talk magazine 5.4
    • Topic A 5.5
    • The Diana Chronicles 5.6
    • The Daily Beast 5.7
  • Publications 6
  • References 7
  • Sources 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Tina Brown was born in Laurence Olivier. In her later years, Bettina wrote for an English-language magazine for expatriates in Spain where she and her husband lived in retirement until moving to New York in the early eighties to be with their daughter and grandchildren.


In Brown's own words she was considered "an extremely subversive influence"[7] as a child, resulting in her expulsion from three boarding schools. Offences included organising a demonstration to protest against the school's policy of allowing a change of underwear only three times a week, referring to her headmistress' bosoms as "unidentified flying objects" in a journal entry, and writing a play about her school being blown up and a public lavatory being erected in its place.[7]


Brown entered Oxford university at the age of 17.[8] She studied at St. Anne's College, and graduated with a BA in English Literature. As an undergraduate, she wrote for Isis, the university's literary magazine, to which she contributed interviews with the columnist Auberon Waugh and the actor Dudley Moore.[9] Brown's sharp, witty prose garnered her publication in The New Statesman while she was still an undergraduate at Oxford. Her friendship with Waugh served as a boost to her writing career, as he used his influence to get attention drawn to her ability. Later, she went on to date the writer Martin Amis.[10] While still at Oxford, she won the Sunday Times National Student Drama Award for her one-act play Under the Bamboo Tree. A subsequent play, Happy Yellow, in 1977 was mounted at the London fringe Bush Theatre and later performed at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Personal life

In 1973, the literary agent Nicholas Coleridge (who today is President of Conde Nast International). Brown herself wrote in every issue, contributing irreverent surveys of the upper classes. She travelled through Scotland to portray the owners' stately homes. She also wrote short satirical profiles of eligible London bachelors under the pen-name Rosie Boot. Tatler led the coverage of the rise of Lady Di and became the go-to magazine for information about Diana's world. She joined NBC's Tom Brokaw in running commentary for The Today Show on the royal wedding. Tatler increased its sale from 10,000 to 40,000[9] and was named magazine of the year in the industry awards of 1978. In 1982 when S. I. ("Si") Newhouse Jr., owner of Condé Nast Publications, bought Tatler Brown resigned to become a full-time writer again.[15] The break didn't last long and Tina was lured back to Conde Nast. This year she also hosted several editions of the long running television series Film82 for BBC1 as a guest presenter.[16]

Vanity Fair

In 1983 Brown was brought to New York by Newhouse to advise on Vanity Fair, a title that he had resurrected earlier that year. (Vanity Fair had previously ceased publication in 1936.) Edited first by Richard Locke and then by Leo Lerman, it was dying[17] with an unviable circulation of 200,000 and 12 pages of advertising. She stayed on as a contributing editor for a brief time, and then was named editor-in-chief on 1 January 1984. She recalls that upon taking over the magazine she found it to be "pretentious, humourless. It wasn't too clever, it was just dull."[18]

The first contract writer she hired was not a writer but a movie producer whom she met at a dinner party hosted by the writer Marie Brenner. The producer told her he was going to California for the trial of the strangler of his daughter. As solace, Brown suggested for him to keep a diary and his report (headlined Justice) proved the launch of the long magazine career of Dominick Dunne.[19]

Early stories such as Justice and livelier covers brightened the prospects of the magazine. In addition, Brown signed up among others Marie Brenner, Gail Sheehy, Jesse Kornbluth, T.D. Allman, Lynn Herschberg, James Kaplan, Peter J. Boyer, John Richardson, James Atlas, Alex Shoumatoff and Ben Brantley. The magazine became a mix of celebrity and serious foreign and domestic reporting. Brown persuaded the novelist William Styron to write about his depression under the title Darkness Visible, which subsequently became a best-selling nonfiction book. At the same time Brown formed fruitful relationships with photographers Annie Leibovitz, Harry Benson, Herb Ritts, and Helmut Newton.[20] Annie Leibovitz's portrayal of Jerry Hall, Diane Keaton, Whoopi Goldberg and others came to define Vanity Fair. Its most famous cover was August 1991's of a naked and pregnant Demi Moore.

Three stories appeared in Vanity Fair Harry Benson's cover shoot of Ronald and Nancy Reagan dancing in the White House; Helmut Newton's notorious portrait of accused murderer Claus von Bulow in his leathers with his mistress Andrea Reynolds with reporting by Dominick Dunne, and Brown's own cover story on Princess Diana in October 1985 titled The Mouse that Roared. It broke the news of the fracture in the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales. These three stories from June to October 1985 saved the magazine after a year when rumors were rife that it was to be folded into The New Yorker[21] just acquired by S.I. Newhouse.

Thereafter sales of Vanity Fair rose from 200,000 to 1.2 million. In 1988 she was named Magazine Editor of the Year by Advertising Age magazine.[22] Advertising topped 1,440 pages in 1991 and with circulation revenues, especially from profitable single copy sales at $20 million, selling some 55 percent of copies on the newsstand, well above the industry average sell through of 42 percent.[23] Despite this success, occasional references later appeared to Vanity Fair losing money. Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer who suggested as much in his book Power: Why Some People Have It – And Others Don't was quickly rebutted by Bernard Leser, president of Conde Nast USA during Brown's tenure. In a letter to the editor of the Evening Standard, Leser stated Pfeffer's claim was "absolutely false" and affirmed that they had indeed earned "a very healthy profit."[24] Leo Scullin, an independent magazine consultant, called it a "successful launch of a franchise."[23] Under Brown's editorship Vanity Fair won four National Magazine Awards, including a 1989 award for General Excellence.

One of her editorial decisions was in October 1990, two months after the first Gulf War had started, when she removed a picture of Marla Maples (a blonde) from the cover and replaced it with a photograph of Cher. The reason for her last minute decision, she told the Washington Post, was that "In light of the gulf crisis, we thought a brunette was more appropriate."[25]

The New Yorker

In 1992, Brown accepted the company's invitation to become editor of The New Yorker, the fourth in its 73-year history and the first female to hold the position having been preceded by Harold Ross, William Shawn and Robert Gottlieb. She has related in speeches that before taking over, she immersed herself in vintage New Yorkers, reading the issues produced by founding editor Harold Ross. "There was an irreverence, a lightness of touch as well as a literary voice that had been obscured in later years when the magazine became more celebrated and stuffy." She added: "Rekindling that DNA became my passion."

Anxieties that Brown might change the identity of The New Yorker as a cultural institution prompted a number of resignations. Of them [26] in his resignation letter. (To which Brown reportedly replied "I am distraught at your defection but since you never actually write anything I should say I am notionally distraught.") The departing Jamaica Kincaid described Brown as "a bully" and "Stalin in high heels."[26]

But Brown had the support of some New Yorker stalwarts including John Updike, Roger Angell, Brendan Gill, Lillian Ross, Calvin Tomkins, Janet Malcolm, Harold Brodkey and Philip Hamburger and newer staffers like Adam Gopnik and Nancy Franklin. During her editorship she let 79 go and engaged 50 new writers and editors including most of whom remain to this day: David Remnick (whom she nominated as her successor), Malcolm Gladwell, Anthony Lane, Jane Mayer, Jeffrey Toobin,[27] Hendrik Hertzberg, Simon Schama, Lawrence Wright, Connie Bruck, John Lahr and editors Pamela McCarthy and Dorothy Wickenden. Brown introduced the concept of special double issues such as the New Yorker '​s first annual fiction issue and the Holiday Season cartoon issue. She also cooperated with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates to devote a whole issue to Black in America.[28]

Brown broke the magazine's long standing taboo against treating photography seriously when in 1992 she invited Richard Avedon to be its first staff photographer.[29] She also approved of controversial covers from a new crop of artists, including Edward Sorel's October 1992 cover that had people buzzing about the meaning of a punk rock passenger sprawled in the backseat of an elegant horse-drawn carriage: was it Brown's self-mocking riposte to fears she would downgrade the magazine?[30] A year later a national controversy was provoked by her publication of Art Spiegelman's Valentine's Day cover of a Jewish man and a black woman in an embracing kiss, a comment on the mounting racial tensions between blacks and the ultra-Orthodox Jews in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York.

During Brown's tenure, the magazine was honored with 4 George Polk Awards, 5 Overseas Press Club Awards, and 10 National Magazine Awards, including a 1995 award for General Excellence, the first in the magazine's history. Newsstand sales rose 145 percent[31] The New Yorker's circulation increased to 807,935 for the second half of 1997 up from 658,916 during the corresponding period in 1992.[32] Critics maintained it was hemorrhaging money. Newhouse remained supportive. At the start he said, viewing the magazine under Brown as a start-up (which routinely lose money), "It was practically a new magazine. She added topicality, photography, color. She did what we would have done if we invented the New Yorker from scratch. To do all that was costly. We knew it would be."[32] Under Brown its economic fortunes improved every year. In 1995 losses were about $17 million, in 1996 $14 million, by 1997 they'd been cut back to $11 million.[32]

In 1998, Brown resigned from the New Yorker following an invitation from Harvey and Bob Weinstein of Miramax Films (then owned by the Disney Company) to be the chairman in a new multi-media company they intended to start with a new magazine, a book company and a television show. The Hearst company came in as partners with Miramax.

The departing verdicts after Brown's New Yorker tenure included:

Talk magazine

Tina Brown next created Statue of Liberty under thousands of Japanese lanterns and a Grucci fireworks display.[36] An interview with Hillary Clinton in its very first issue caused an immediate political sensation when she claimed that the abuse her husband suffered as a child led to his adult philandering.[37] Despite having achieved a circulation of 670,000[38] Talk magazine's publication was abruptly halted in January 2002 in the wake of the advertising recession following the September 11, 2001 attacks and the terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center.[38] It was Brown's first very public failure but she had no regrets about embarking on the project. "My reputation rests on four magazines – three great successes, one that was a great experiment. I don't feel in any way let down. No big career doesn't have one flame out in it and there's nobody more boring than the undefeated."[39]

Talk Miramax Books flourished as a boutique publishing house until it was detached from Miramax in 2005 and made part of Hyperion at Disney. Out of 42 books published during Brown's time, 11 have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List including Leadership by Rudy Giuliani, Leap of Faith by Queen Noor of Jordan and Madam Secretary by Madeleine Albright.

Topic A

Brown went on to host a series of specials for Annette Bening. Topic A struggled to find an audience on Sunday nights airing after a day of infomercials.[40] It averaged 75,000 viewers in 2005, about the same as The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch (79,000) and John McEnroe's McEnroe (75,000.)[40] On being offered a lucrative deal with tight deadlines to write a book about Princess Diana, Brown resigned, airing her last Topic A interviews on 29 May 2005.[40]

The Diana Chronicles

Tina Brown speaking at Barnes and Noble about The Diana Chronicles
Brown's biography of Diana, Princess of Wales was published just before the 10th anniversary of her death in June 2007. The Diana Chronicles went straight to the top of the New York Times bestseller list for hardback nonfiction, with two weeks in the number one position.[41] It was received well. John Lanchester in The New Yorker wrote The New York Times: The Wall Street Journal:

The Daily Beast

On 6 October 2008 Brown had teamed up with Barry Diller to launch The Daily Beast, an online news magazine that mixes original journalism with news aggregation. The website's name comes from the fictional newspaper in Evelyn Waugh's 1938 novel Scoop.

The Daily Beast had an immediate impact with an early sensation when Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley, Jr., chose The Daily Beast rather than the magazine his father founded (National Review), to announce he could not support the Republican candidate in the 2008 presidential election: "Sorry, Dad, I'm voting for Obama."[43] Early recognition of The Daily Beast came in a series of awards: Online Journalism Award 2009 for Online Commentary/Blogging, Christopher Buckley;[44] OMMA Awards 2009 Winner – Politics; Winner – News;[45] MinOnline Top 21 Social Media Superstars 2009 for Tina Brown;[46] MinOnline 2010 Best of the Web Awards: New Site (co-winner);[47] Webby Award nominations for Best Practices and Best News 2009[48]

In August 2010, Time's review of the 50 Best Websites of 2010 named The Daily Beast among the top five news and information sites.[49] (The Onion at 16, The Guardian at 17, The Daily Beast at 18, National Geographic at 19, and WikiLeaks at 20)

The Daily Beast '​s writers include Christopher Buckley, Peter Beinart, Les Gelb, Joshua DuBois, Mark McKinnon, Meghan McCain, John Avlon, Lucinda Franks, Bruce Riedel, Lloyd Grove, Tunku Varadarajan and Reza Aslan.

In a joint venture with Perseus Book Group, The Daily Beast formed a new imprint, Beast Books, that focuses on publishing timely titles of no more than 50,000 words by Daily Beast writers – first as e-books, and then as paperbacks in as little as four months.[51] The first Beast Book was entitled Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America by John P. Avlon.

Partnering with Diane von Furstenberg, Vital Voices and the UN Foundation in 2010, The Daily Beast brought some of the world's most inspiring female leaders together at the Hudson Theatre in New York City for the first annual Women in the World Summit. The mission of the three-day summit was to focus on the global challenges facing women, from equal rights and education, to human slavery, literacy and the power of the media and technology to effect change in women's lives. Attendees included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Meryl Streep, Leymah Gbowee, Sunitha Krishnan, Madeleine Albright, Edna Adan Ismail, Queen Rania of Jordan, Cherie Blair and Valerie Jarrett.[52]

On 12 November 2010 The Daily Beast and Newsweek announced that they would merge their operations in a joint venture to be owned equally by Sidney Harman and IAC/InterActiveCorp. The new entity was named The Newsweek Daily Beast Company with Tina Brown as Editor-in-Chief and Stephen Colvin as CEO.[53] On 25 July 2012, the owners of Newsweek Daily Beast said the magazine would eventually cease publishing a printed version and would transition to online-only. The reason given was that declining revenues and increasing costs made maintaining the print magazine no longer feasible.[54] Critics quickly blamed Brown for failing to turn the magazine around.

In the last week of December 2012, the final printed issue of Newsweek was published with a 31 Dec date and a cover headline reflecting its plans for an all-digital future, in the form of a Twitter hashtag: "#LastPrintIssue." An editorial column by Brown and several articles in the issue reflected on the magazine's history of reportage, with a special emphasis on the two years between Harman's takeover and the end of the print magazine, which featured extensive coverage of a number of major world events, including the Arab Spring, the killing of Osama bin Laden and the US presidential election of 2012.

On September 11, 2013, Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown announced her departure. Initial reports of her contract not being renewed[55] were refuted in a statement issued by Barry Diller, IAC/InterActiveCorp's Executive Director:

Brown's resignation also caused much speculation in the media in regard to the future of the website. This uncertainty was promptly addressed in a memo to staffers by interim CEO Rhona Murphy, "The Daily Beast is not for sale and is not closing. IAC has approved in concept the operating budget for 2014."[56] In the words of executive editor John Avlon, "The Daily Beast roars on."


  • Brown, Tina (1979). Loose Talk: Adventures on the Street of Shame. London: Joseph.  
  • Brown, Tina (1983). Life As a Party. London: A. Deutsch.  
  • Brown, Tina (2007). The Diana Chronicles. New York: Doubleday.  


  1. ^ "Queen's Birthday Honours List".  
  2. ^ Kelly, Keith J. (4 September 2007). "Mag-nificence".  
  3. ^ "Author spotlight".  
  4. ^ "Tina Brown Announces Tina Brown Live Media". Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Bosman, Julie (12 September 2013). "Tina Brown to Write Memoir". "The New York Times". Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Tina Brown". UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2003. Retrieved 11 November 2007. 
  7. ^ a b Brockes, Emma (23 June 2007). "Princess of Parties".  
  8. ^ "Christina Has a Go and Wins a Place at Oxford".  
  9. ^ a b Dovkants, Keith (14 June 2007). "Tina, Diana and the £1m Comeback".  
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  11. ^ a b Evans, Harold (2010). My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times. New York: Little, Brown and Company.  
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  13. ^ "Tina Brown". Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
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  16. ^ Review of Death Wish2 for Film 82
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  18. ^ Porter, Henry (10 February 1991). "All is Vanity". The Sunday Review. pp. 3–5. 
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  20. ^ Friend, David. "Vanity Fair: The One Click History". Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
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  25. ^ Washington Post, Thursday, October 25, 1990 – Page D3, by Cuck Conconi
  26. ^ a b Katz, Ian (23 October 1996). "Woman on top of her game – as new-broom editor of the fusty New Yorker, Britain's Tina Brown has had both brickbats and bouquets. Held in awe by some very big cheese in the Big Apple, to others she is 'Stalin in High Heels' How does she feel about that?". The Guardian. 
  27. ^ Grigoriadis, Vanessa (18 June 2007). "What Does Tina Brown Have to Do to Get Some Attention?".  
  28. ^ "New Yorker Lit-Glam Up Harvard". Boston Globe: 30. 22 April 1996. 
  29. ^ Gopnik, Adam (11 October 2004). "Richard Avedon". 
  30. ^ Kolbert, Elizabeth (5 December 1993). "How Tina Brown Moves Magazines". The New York Times Magazine. 
  31. ^ "American Society of Magazine Editors". Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  32. ^ a b c Pogrebin, Robin (16 February 1998). "The Year of Pointing Fingers at the New Yorker". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  33. ^ a b "The Talk of the Town". The New Yorker: 25–27. 3 August 1988. 
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  35. ^ McGee, Celia (9 July 1999). "Bashing Back at the Mayor". The Daily News. p. 5. 
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  37. ^ Kuczynski, Alex (19 January 2002). "Lifelines Cut, Talk Magazine Goes Silent". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 August 2010. 
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  40. ^ a b c Learmonth, Michael (9 May 2005). "Brown Tackles New Topic: Diana Tome". Daily Variety. p. 5,6. 
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  • Bachrach, Judy (2001). Tina and Harry Come to America: Tina Brown, Harry Evans, and the Uses of Power. New York: Free Press.  

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Leslie Field
Editor of the Tatler
Succeeded by
Libby Purves
Preceded by
Leo Lerman
Editor of Vanity Fair
Succeeded by
Graydon Carter
Preceded by
Robert Gottlieb
Editor of The New Yorker
Succeeded by
David Remnick
In 1979 at the age of 25 Brown was invited to edit the tiny, almost extinct society magazine

After graduating, while doing freelance reporting, Brown was invited to write a weekly column by the literary humour magazine, Punch. These articles and her freelance contributions to The Sunday Times and The Sunday Telegraph earned her the Catherine Pakenham Award for the best journalist under 25.[6] Some of the writings from this era formed part of her first collection Loose Talk, published by Michael Joseph.

Early work


In 2014 Brown appeared in Henry Louis Gates' Finding Your Roots where she found out she is part Iraqi from her mother's side. She recounted, “She was dark and I never knew why.”[14]


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