The online advantage

December 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

When I first started analyzing The Daily Beast as an online-only magazine, I thought of it only in the context of a website for a magazine. I’ve since realized that while The Daily Beast is separated by topics, has dependable departments and an all-encompassing tone of voice, it is quite different from a print magazine.

It may have the same combination of multi-source reporting and columns as a print magazine, but The Daily Beast is updated constantly. So while The Daily Beast can’t put as much thought into innovating design, it keeps up with the biggest headlines while providing commentary.

Since the beginning of my blog, the biggest change with The Daily Beast is the merger with Newsweek. This huge step means that the magazine will go from an online-only to a print mash-up with the well-known newsmagazine. It will be interesting to see if The Daily Beast can carry its unique tone of voice into this venture.

One of the most prominent stories on The Daily Beast is an exclusive by investigative reporter Philip Shenon about Russia blocking WikiLeaks about their government. In “Moscow’s Bid to Blow Up WikiLeaks,” Shenon gets his pivotal information about Russia vying to shut down the site from an unidentified U.S. law-enforcement official and an unidentified military official.

However, he supplements these with insights from a professor that specializes in Russia and a former journalist from the Soviet Union. While it was probably not possible to identify people within the administration saying these things, it makes Shenon more credibly by seeking out other expert sources that can talk about it from a hypothetical perspective.

All in all, the story reads much like a news story, but it illustrates The Daily Beast’s ability to discuss breaking news. If The Daily Beast existed as solely a weekly or monthly print magazine this would be much more difficult.



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