Newsweek Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown is busy putting out fires after a comment by IAC Chairman Barry Diller sparked rumors that Newsweek is on the verge of pulling the plug on its print edition.
The Huffington Post reports that the speculation stems from a reference by Diller during an earnings call today to a print-to-online transition.
“Diller was asked if he has considered making the publication online only,” the story reports. "’The transition to online from hard print will take place,’ he answered. ‘We’re examining all of our options. Our plan is that, by September, October and certainly, uh, firmly have a plan in place for next year. It’s going be different than it is this year.’"
The comment triggered online posts indicating that Diller planned to take the magazine digital by this fall.
“However, IAC spokesperson Justine Sacco later clarified the comments, telling multiple reporters that Web-only was merely a possibility that he was considering along with others, and that he had been referring to a general transition for the media industry,” the story reports.
“Later, Brown also issued a memo to staff clarifying the remarks. ‘Barry Diller would like to make it clear that he did not say on the earnings call as reported that Newsweek is going digital in September,’ she wrote. She added that his observation about the surge of digital was ‘industry-wide’ and ‘uncontroversial,” the report adds.
The report notes that Diller’s company took sole control of Newsweek this week after it was announced Monday that the Harman family, with which IAC previously shared 50-50 ownership of Newsweek and Daily Beast, announced that it is pulling much of its funding from the two publications.