Royal Outrage While Newsweek Execs “Couldn’t Be Happier”

Welcome to a Wednesday, we are fairly brief this afternoon, the crush of business mandates we embrace brevity in today’s post.

We seem to be amid a rush of royally-related news, we begin with a look at the latest media stunt, Newsweek’s ridiculous cover showing “Diana at 50.”

Newsweek

Friday would have been Diana’s 50th birthday, the magazine’s ‘coverage’ of this includes additional photoshopped images along with other content.

Many readers may recognize the name of the individual responsible for decisions to do such coverage; Newsweek’s editor is Tina Brown. Previously she edited Vanity Fair and Tatler, also writing the 2007 bestseller “The Diana Chronicles”.  Ms. Brown also co-founded The Daily Beast with Barry Diller, merging it with Newsweek late last year. Below, another image from the magazine.

Photo Illustration by R. Mutt Studios for Newsweek; Source Photo: Tim Graham / Getty ImageS

In reality Ms. Brown didn’t just give approval of the coverage, she created some of it, penning a ‘story’, Diana at 50.  Here are a few snippets from Ms. Brown’s creative writing exercise:

  • “After so many loves and losses, she would finally have let go of her rancor toward Camilla.”
  • “The rising public adoration of Kate would have afforded Diana some tricky moments. Pleased, yes. But, like Frances Shand Kydd—who, days before Diana’s wedding, suddenly burst out, “I have good long legs, like my daughter”—Diana would have had to adjust to a broadening of the limelight.”
  • “I suspect she would have retained a weakness for men in uniform, and a yen for dashing Muslim men.”

Perhaps the most riotous speculation was a statement that Diana would have “ostentatiously made Carole Middleton, Kate’s dynamic mother, her new BFF”.  As one might imagine, the tumult surrounding the issue (pun intended) is substantial.

The bizarre ‘coverage’ doesn’t stop with the photoshopped Princess Diana on the magazine’s cover. The magazine also made up a Facebook page in the late Princess’s name.

As one might expect, most of the reaction to all of this is rather scathing. Below, from the UK’s Telegraph:

“What inspired the once awesome Tina Brown to become Newsweek’s grave-robber? Did she think this would help flog her biography of Diana, or did she wish to show the world that she no longer felt any loyalty to the Royal family back in her homeland? Whatever the motive, the outcome is a stain on her, and Newsweek’s, name.”

From the popular CafeMom blog:

“This is pure brilliance. I’ve never understood why a magazine called Newsweek would waste its time having reporters write about current events or world affairs when it could simply make up stuff.”

Additionally there is supposed to be a Twitter account the magazine created.

Really?

Newsweek magazine is now in the business of creating bogus Facebook pages and fake Twitter accounts? After spending 17 years as part of “the media,” I was under the illusion we report the news, we don’t make the news up. Silly Princess.

CNN’s blog shares some of Ms. Brown’s justification:

I wanted to make her a time traveler,” she said, adding that she viewed Diana as a “global, mover shaker kind of woman.” “She loved the limelight but she would have professionalized all that humanitarian giving,” Brown said. “She would have been very much a woman of our time.

Please forgive the tedious blathering commentary from these quarters, but this one really is so over the top we couldn’t help ourselves.  Of course, the furor does precisely what Ms. Brown and other Newsweek execs hope, newsstand sales must be up. For this issue. But the real problem for Newsweek isn’t this week, or next week or next month. It’s the longterm impact that should be troubling to executives, a damaged brand may experience a brief sales spike but almost always loses the race over the long haul.

Normally this sort of conduct would qualify for our Help Me Understand category, but unfortunately we understand perfectly.  As Meghan Casserly at Forbes put it:

But Tina Brown’s no idiot. A Newsweek staffer tells me the powers that be couldn’t be happier with all the buzz. When summer magazine sales are slow, she’s stirred up conversation—and given herself the liberty to write a fanciful piece of name-dropping fiction sure to sell at the newsstand—all while plugging her 2007 book, The Diana Chronicles.

The reaction online isn’t limited to blogs, award-winning writer Cheryl Anderson Brown is using Twitter to provide a concrete suggestion for those upset with Newsweek, suggesting that people ‘Don’t Buy Newsweek’ or cancel their subscription.

PalacePrincess on Twitter

The #DontBuyNewsweek ‘hashtag’ (a way of identifying specific topics on Twitter) is gaining some traction, magazine management may discover that those who live by technology may also be die by technology.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

On a more positive royal note, tomorrow marks the first day of the Royal Visit to North America, William and Kate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge begin their visit in Ottawa, Canada tomorrow afternoon. We will be busy here as well as at our sister site, WhatKateWore. Yikes!

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15 Comments

Filed under Help Me Understand, preppy, Royal Wedding

15 responses to “Royal Outrage While Newsweek Execs “Couldn’t Be Happier”

  1. Haven’t commented in a while, but read everyday! Just love the Preppy Princess!

  2. Not to be tremendously fussy but her birthday would’ve been on Friday actually…not tomorrow. It’s also Canada day.

  3. Mean Girls set loose.

    A media empire desperate enough to beg for some of People and US Magazine’s population.

    Sadness.

  4. I just think it is in poor taste because I am sure William and Harry have been wondering since his engagement what it would be like if his mother was still around…

  5. Wow I am speechless, this is enough to make me never want to pick up another copy of Newsweek, its shocking, outrageous, disrespectful to her memory and her family and very exploitave. Mostly its very low for a well regarded publication that I thought wrote stories of integrity, like Newsweek. I am really really shocked and disappointed and its my guess that there will be A LOT of backlash from the readers. If I was a subscriber, I would surely show my distaste by canceling my subscription at once. Very low. Tina Brown should have known better. Much better.

  6. MoM

    Newsweek has hit an all-time low. This stunt reeks of “Enquirer” garbage. So sorry for the Princes and all they must endure. Have a great evening! xoxo

  7. OMG don’t tell me gossip, and tacky journalistic standards have made its way to newsweek? I HATE gossip monger magazines.

  8. Mona

    Can they not allow our beloved Princess to rest in peace?

  9. I’m not sure I could define precisely where & when the line of poor journalistic taste is crossed but, to take out-of-context the words of one-time Supreme Court Justice, Potter Stewart, I know it when I see it. This is it. I almost wish I was a “Newsweek” subscriber just so I could unsubscribe & send a message.

    Like you, I’m also disappointed in Tina Brown, from whom I’ve come to expect better, her “Diana” biography included. What a shame.

  10. What a ridiculous stunt from Newsweek! I am so disappointed

  11. THE HORRAH.

    This is just the worst. Ever. What in the samhill is Tina Brown thinking and where are the people who, as people do when one is making a horrible, horrible decision, should have taken her aside and said, uhm, no. Just no. Where are THEY?

  12. (Sounds of the royal coronets ) reminding us we r présent in the Court of HSH the Princess of Preppydom & Her Royal Consort, may I add my two pence?
    Tina Brown is a publishing knight-in-shining-armor editor in a Chanel suit. Her skills as a rainmaker have been called upon as many times as the magazines that have hired her to shake-up the the corporate chains of command and polish their strong suits into assets by adding a bit of gossip, flamboyance & that tawdry English love for a bit of outlandishness in the behind the locked bedroom/hotel door area that falls in the area of things not be discussed at the dinner table but only at tea among one’s girlpals.
    Clearly, the American public would rather be caught up by Hollywood starlets, the ramblings of once-brilliant comedians in the midst of their crash & burn episodeis so why would this “save the magazine at all costs” seem strange? Because Newsweek gave the market what it was clamoring for? read an article ONLINE;p a quotation from a Tastemaker who said that they had NOT looked at a Fashion magazine that wasn’t online for FIVE yrs! If Newsweek’s Board vis thrilled with the payoff, they’ve obviously made a commitment to veer from their their tradition of straight, upnbiased News reporting in a league with Time” magazine but more liberal. This issue was shocking & effect will be to make Newsweek profitable by taking Newsweek out of the hard news column and re-position the brand else, it may have been a
    test market experiment.
    Right now, the world is so upside down–maybe we ought to
    redef ggvour outrage at Tina’s effective marketing ploy (Upsetting though it maybe, I predict it was a sell-out).
    She has already achieved one pre-set goal: People started talking about Newsweek p

  13. liucong

    Tacky, tacky, tacky.

  14. Lori Hall

    Poor taste and poor timing for it to hit the stands just before William and Catherine arrived in California. No doubt they saw the magazine or heard all about it. It was disrespectful and insensitive to say the least.

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