The Daily Beast

Last updated

The Daily Beast
The Daily Beast logo.png
Type of site
News
Available inEnglish
Headquarters
United States
OwnerThe Daily Beast Company LLC
(IAC)
Created by Tina Brown
Editor Noah Shachtman
URL thedailybeast.com
CommercialYes
RegistrationNone
LaunchedOctober 6, 2008;12 years ago (2008-10-06)
Current statusActive

The Daily Beast is an American news website focused on politics, media and pop culture, founded in 2008.

Contents

It has been characterized as a "high-end tabloid" by Noah Shachtman, the site's editor-in-chief since 2018. [1] In a 2015 interview, former editor-in-chief John Avlon described the Beast's editorial approach: "We seek out scoops, scandals, and stories about secret worlds; we love confronting bullies, bigots, and hypocrites." [2] In 2018, Avlon described the Beast's "strike zone" as "politics, pop culture, and power". [3]

History

The Daily Beast began publishing on October 6, 2008. Its founding editor was Tina Brown, a former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker as well as the short-lived Talk magazine. Brown stepped down as editor in September 2013. [4] John Avlon, an American journalist and political commentator as well as a CNN contributor, was the site's editor-in-chief and managing director from 2013 to 2018. [5] [6] [7] The name of the site was taken from a fictional newspaper in Evelyn Waugh's novel Scoop. [8]

In 2010, The Daily Beast merged with the magazine Newsweek creating a combined company, The Newsweek Daily Beast Company. The merger ended in 2013, when Daily Beast owner IAC sold Newsweek to IBT Media, owner of the International Business Times . [9]

In September 2014, The Daily Beast reached a new record of 21 million unique visitors – a 60% year-over-year increase in readers, accompanied by a 300% increase in the overall size of its social media community. [10]

In May 2018 Avlon departed from the Beast to become full-time Senior Political Analyst and anchor at CNN. Avlon was succeeded by executive editor Noah Shachtman. [11]

In March 2017 former chief strategy and product officer Mike Dyer left for Intel. [12] In May 2017, Heather Dietrick was appointed president and publisher. [13]

Editorial stance

In an April 2018 interview, Avlon described the publication's political stance as "non-partisan but not neutral": "what that means is we're going to hit both sides where appropriate, but we're not going for mythic moral equivalence on every issue." [14] In April 2017, Avlon discussed the organization's approach on the Poynter Institute's podcast saying, "We're not going to toe any partisan line." [15] In December 2017, NPR reported that The Daily Beast's editor-in-chief John Avlon had begun pairing reporters from both the right and left sides of the political spectrum to cover White House stories. Specifically, reporters Asawin Suebsaeng (formerly of Mother Jones ) and Lachlan Markay (formerly of The Heritage Foundation) were tasked with covering the Trump Administration. [16]

The Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple stated in 2018 that "Pound for pound, [The Daily Beast] is an impressive operation. As I see it, they do a few things well: They bang the phones, they don't always follow the same story everyone else is doing, and they are fast." [17]

Later in 2018, editor-in-chief Noah Shachtman characterized The Daily Beast as a "high-end tabloid" that embraces gonzo journalism. [1]

According to Schachtman, The Daily Beast's social media policy for journalists consists (as of 2018) of three main rules: "you're reporters, not cheerleaders. So don't be an open partisan", avoiding hate speech and posts that could offend a group, and "don't get your fellow reporters in trouble". [1]

Format

A feature of The Daily Beast is the Cheat Sheet, billed as "must reads from all over". Published throughout the day, the Cheat Sheet offers a selection of articles from online news outlets on popular stories. The Cheat Sheet includes brief summaries of the article, and a link to read the full text of the article on the website of its provider. It is found at www.thedailybeast.com/cheat-sheet. [18]

After the launch, the site introduced additional sections, including a video Cheat Sheet and Book Beast. [19] The site frequently creates encyclopedic landing pages on topical subjects such as President Obama's inauguration, the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, and the Iran uprising. [20] In 2014, The Daily Beast became the majority on mobile and released an iOS app, which Nieman Lab described as "the dawn of the quantified news reader". [21]

The illustrational style used at the top of every article has been described as, "jaunty collage and pop-art illustrations". [22]

Contributors

Contributors to the publication include notable writers and political activists such as:

In May 2017, Pulitzer Prize–winning national security reporter Spencer Ackerman left The Guardian and joined The Daily Beast. [24] [25] [26] [27] When asked about the move Ackerman said, "The Daily Beast is the place to do the kind of journalism that matters most right now ..." [28]

In June 2017, HuffPost senior political editor Sam Stein announced he was joining The Daily Beast in the same capacity. [29]

Reach

In early June 2014, Capital New York re-published a memo by outgoing CEO Rhona Murphy, stating that The Daily Beast's average unique monthly visitors increased from 13.5 million in 2013 to more than 17 million in 2014. [30] By September 2014, the website reached a new record of 21 million unique visitors; it was a 60% year-over-year increase in readers, accompanied by a 300% increase in the overall size of its social media community. [31]

In 2015, Ken Doctor, a news analyst for Nieman Lab, reported that The Daily Beast is "one of the fastest-growing news and information sites year-over-year in the 'General News' category". [32]

During Avlon's leadership from 2013 to 2018, The Daily Beast doubled its traffic to 1.1 million readers a day and won over 17 awards for journalistic excellence. [33] [34]

Awards

The Daily Beast won a Webby Award for "Best News Site" in 2012 and 2013. [35] Also in 2012 John Avlon won National Society of Newspaper Columnists' award for best online column in 2012 for The Daily Beast. [36]

In March 2012, "Book Beast" won a National Magazine Award for Website Department, which "honors a department, channel or microsite". [37]

Anna Nemstova received the Courage in Journalism Award in 2015 from the International Women's Media Foundation. [38] Also that year, Michael Daly won with the National Society of Newspaper Columnists award in the category of Online, Blog, Multimedia – Over 100,000 Unique Visitors. [39]

In 2016, the Los Angeles Press Club nominated several of The Beast's writers including M. L. Nestel for Arts/Entertainment Investigative, Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins for best Celebrity Investigative, Malcolm Jones for best Obituary, Lizzie Crocker for Humor and Tim Teeman for Industry/ArtsHard News. Also nominated for best in field were Kevin Fallon for Industry/Arts Soft News and Melissa Leon for Industry/Arts Soft News. [40]

The Association of LGBTQ Journalists or NLGJA nominated both Tim Teeman 2016 Journalist of the Year and Heather Boerner Excellence in HIV/AIDS Coverage. [41] In 2017 NLGJA awarded Jay Michaelson for his coverage of GOP anti-LGBT legislation and Tim Teeman for reporting on ALS. [42]

In 2017, the website won three New York Press Club Journalism Awards in the internet publishing categories of Entertainment News, Crime Reporting and Travel Reporting. [43] In December, the Los Angeles Press Club's National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards announced the platform had won 4 awards for 2017 reporting including investigative articles about the Nate Parker rape case, comic Bob Smith's struggle with ALS, and remembering Bill Paxton. [44]

In 2018, the trade magazine Digiday awarded the Beast's Cheat Sheet for best email newsletter. [45]

Beast Books

In September 2009, The Daily Beast launched a publishing initiative entitled "Beast Books" that will produce books by Beast writers on an accelerated publishing schedule. [46] The first book published by Beast Books was John Avlon's Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America. [47]

In January 2011 they published Stephen L. Carter's The Violence of Peace: America's Wars in the Age of Obama. [48] Also in 2011 Beast Books published Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee's memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers. [49] [50]

Controversies

Plagiarism

In February 2010, Jack Shafer of Slate magazine reported that the chief investigative reporter for The Daily Beast, Gerald Posner, had plagiarised five sentences from an article published by the Miami Herald . Shafer also discovered that Posner had plagiarized content from a Miami Herald blog, a Miami Herald editorial, Texas Lawyer magazine and a health care journalism blog. [51] [52] Posner was subsequently dismissed from The Daily Beast following an internal review. [53]

Taliban denouncement

A 2013 article about the Taliban seeking peaceful negotiations in Afghanistan prompted a direct response from the organization. The Taliban denounced the article as false and claimed The Daily Beast violated the basic principles of journalism. [54] [55]

Nico Hines' 2016 Olympics article

On August 11, 2016, The Daily Beast published an article entitled "I Got Three Grindr Dates in an Hour in the Olympic Village", written by Nico Hines, the site's London editor, who was assigned to cover the Olympic Games. [56] [57] Hines, a heterosexual married man, signed up for several gay and straight dating apps, including Tinder, Bumble and Grindr, and documented his experiences in the Olympic Village. While not specifically naming names, Hines provided enough detail in the article to identify individual athletes, leading to widespread criticism that this information could be used against closeted gay athletes, especially those living in repressive countries. [58] Facing intense backlash online, [59] [60] [61] [62] The Daily Beast edited the piece to remove details that could allow athletes to be identified, and editor in chief John Avlon added a lengthy editor's note. Criticism challenging the value of the piece continued, [63] and The Daily Beast eventually removed the article altogether and issued an apology. [64] In March 2017, Hines issued a formal apology for his actions, and it was announced by the website's editor Hines would be returning to The Daily Beast "following a lengthy period of intense reflection". [57] [65]

Andrew M. Seaman, ethics committee chair for the Society of Professional Journalists, called the article "journalistic trash, unethical and dangerous". [66] The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association stated "The reporting was unethical, extremely careless of individual privacy and potentially dangerous to the athletes". [67] Vince Gonzales, professor of professional practice at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism wrote "I think this borders on journalistic malpractice". [67] The president of GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis, wrote "How this reporter thought it was OK—or that somehow it was in the public's interest—to write about his deceitful encounters with these men reflects a complete lack of judgment and disregard for basic decency, not to mention the ethics of journalism". [67]

Doxing

In June 2019, The Daily Beast reporter Kevin Poulsen was accused of doxing Shawn Brooks, a 34-year-old Trump supporter living in the Bronx, when Poulsen revealed his identity for being the alleged creator and disseminator of a widely shared fake video, which showed American politician Nancy Pelosi speaking in a slurred manner. [68] [69] [70] The fake video had been shared over 60,000 times on Facebook and had more than 4 million views, and also spread to Twitter and YouTube. [71] [69]

In response, Brooks denied creating the fake video, despite admitting to being one of the administrators of the group that originally posted the video, Politics WatchDog, and blamed a "female admin" of the group. [68] [70] [71] Brooks also said that he would sue The Daily Beast and Poulsen for publishing "inaccurate trash", and created a GoFundMe page to raise money for legal costs, with a goal of raising $10,000. [70] [71] As of the morning of June 3, 2019, he had raised more than $4,400. [70]

Reactions

The Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald criticized The Daily Beast for revealing Brooks' identity, saying on Twitter it was "repellent to unleash the resources of a major news outlet on an obscure, anonymous, powerless, quasi-unemployed citizen for the crime of trivially mocking the most powerful political leaders". [69] [70] HuffPost and New York contributor Yashar Ali also criticized The Daily Beast for revealing Brooks' identity, saying it "sets a really bad precedent when a private citizen has their identity publicly revealed simply because they made a video of a politician appearing to be drunk". [68] [69] The Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro said on Laura Ingraham's The Ingraham Angle on June 3 that "My impression was that if you are posting anonymously on Facebook, then it's not really within Facebook's purvey[ sic ] to start handing that information to media outlets, but I guess that isn't true". [72]

Other journalists who criticized The Daily Beast include freelance journalist and former The Young Turks journalist Michael Tracey, who said on Twitter that "No one on the planet ever thought "disinformation is the purview of Russia alone" other than self-aggrandizing, sleazy, click-chasing Daily Beast journalists", and media editor for TheWrap Jon Levine, who called the article a "hit job over a joke video that happened to go viral". [69] [70]

When The Daily Beast editor Noah Shachtman was asked about these criticisms by CNN media reporter Brian Stelter on his Reliable Sources show on June 2, 2019, Shachtman defended the article, noting that the fake video had reached "the highest levels of power, with Rudy Giuliani himself tweeting it out" and therefore, according to Shachtman, it was worth identifying the creator of the fake video. [69] Shachtman said Poulsen spoke with Brooks in an on-the-record interview for an hour. [69]

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  16. C-Span (13 February 2020). Politics and Prose Bookstore, Union Market, Washington, D.C., Hosting organization. Series: BookTV. Book interview by Molly Ball, National Correspondent Time Magazine, of Daily Beast reporters Lachlan Markay & Asawin Suebsaeng's Sinking in the Swamp. C-Span website Retrieved 26 February 2020.
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