Summit Notebook

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Daily Beast staff ‘happy as clams,’ says Barry Diller

December 2, 2009

The journalists and staff who work at The Daily Beast don’t look at life like you other sad-sack scribes out there who are watching your job market wash out to sea with the ebb tide. In fact, they are happy in a particularly mollusk-like way.

“They’re as happy as clams,” said Barry Diller, chief executive of IAC/InterActiveCorp, which is financing the online news outlet with its editor, Tina Brown. “They wake up every morning filled with possibility.”

That’s because they are not working at sinking-ship news outlets like most of the rest of their colleagues in mainstream U.S. journalism.

Hear Diller on this, speaking at the Reuters Global Media Summit:

“Look at what’s going on in publishing. The talk about the destruction that’s taking place there. It’s the perfect time to start something that’s an original product. The Daily Beast is a daily newspaper or magazine. It’s primarily original and is there every day. It’s got real staff, making real money, paying a lot of them — journalists — to make things for us, make stories… They’re covering books, art, the daily features and national and international stories. And it’s incredibly ambitious. It’s gotten a real audience. It is absolutely an original product.”

Who wouldn’t like that? Even better, Diller seems OK with the whole “it doesn’t make money” aspect of the Beast. He declined to say what the targets are, like, when he expects it to make a profit, when he expects it to make some revenue and how it will do those things. “We’re going to know at a rational point,” he said.

The best part is, I don’t even end this blog with: “And then I woke up.” Now the question is whether we can find some more sugar-moguls to sweeten our journalistic career paths.

PS: We tried to find out how much money he put into the Beast. Many reports say $18 million. He says it’s wrong. We asked him what’s right. He replied: “You should change that to ‘unknown.’”

(Photo: Reuters)

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