The Life and Career of Media Editor Tina Brown

A photo of former magazine editor Tina Brown.
Desiree Navarro/Getty Images

Tina Brown is currently writing her memoir about her long career in the magazine industry. Most recently, she was Editor-in-Chief for the weekly newsmagazine Newsweek and for The Daily Beast, an online news website, which is owned by The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company.​

Significance to the Media Industry

Tina Brown is one of the most well-known magazine editors in the world, based upon her ability to turn around struggling publications by defining a clear magazine brand.

When Brown is put in charge, readers, advertisers, and the magazine industry can expect to see her imprint.

In the U.K., Brown's first rebuilding effort came at Tatler, which she transformed from a nearly invisible society magazine by offering a multitude of information about Princess Diana. That caught the attention of NBC News, which used Brown as part of its coverage of the Royal Wedding between Lady Diana and Prince Charles in 1981.

Next, she brought new life to Vanity Fair, starting in 1983. Brown used a mix of vivid covers and provocative stories that generated much-needed buzz. The magazine boosted circulation, magazine advertising and won numerous awards. Brown herself won the Advertising Age Magazine Editor of the Year award in 1988.

Brown shifted from Vanity Fair to The New Yorker in 1992, which are both owned by the same company. There was a huge overhaul of the magazine's staff to reflect the change in leadership and Brown's desire to make the publication more relevant.

Again, she brought new focus to cover photography. As in the past, she racked up industry awards while increasing sales.

In her most recent effort. Brown had to manage a media brand that was half-traditional print media, with Newsweek, and half-new media with The Daily Beast. Each had its own challenges, such as developing compelling magazine covers that would sell on the newsstand, while not forgetting how to push an online news effort through the clutter of cyberspace so that it would be noticed.

Tina Brown's Early Career

Tina Brown's expertise as a magazine editor stems from her early work as a writer. In the beginning stages of her career in the U.K., she wrote a column for Punch, a humor magazine, and freelanced for newspapers. She also wrote regularly for Tatler, even though she was also an editor.

Career Highlights

Tina Brown's career has included far more than her turnaround successes at Tatler, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker. She created Talk magazine, which launched to much fanfare in 1999 and scored impressive readership until it fell victim to the economic uncertainty after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Brown's notoriety caught the attention of CNBC, which hired her to present Topic A with Tina Brown, which ran from 2003-2005. Next came her bestselling book on Princess Diana, timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Diana's death in 2007.

This experience with magazines, television and book publishing undoubtedly helped Brown prepare for her role as simultaneous Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek and The Daily Beast. She was there for the launch of The Daily Beast in 2008, which Time magazine called one of the best news sites just two years later.

That was just before the merger with Newsweek was announced.

It's common for magazines to have a website offshoot that offers special features and expanded content. This merger involved much more, because the site had its own name and identity long before Newsweek entered the picture.

The once-struggling Newsweek had shown signs of life after its revamped look debuted in 2011. But the magazine came under fire during the 2012 presidential race by the photo it chose to use on its cover of Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.

Newsweek ended its print publications at the end of 2012. Then, in 2013, Brown announced she was leaving The Daily Beast. That website continues. Media observers have been awaiting Brown's next career move.

Personal Information

Tina Brown was born in England on November 21, 1953. She has a B.A. degree in English Literature from Oxford University.

She is married to a former editor of The Sunday Times and has two children.