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