Tina Brown: 'Taking Over Newsweek...Seems Completely Insane, Actually'

11/19/2012 08:47 am ET

Tina Brown candidly discussed taking over Newsweek and the magazine's decision to move to an all digital format in this week's issue of New York magazine.

Brown took over Newsweek in 2010, merging it with her online news site, The Daily Beast. She became editor-in-chief of both publications. Shortly after Brown started her tenure, Newsweek owner Sidney Harman died at the age of 92.

In October 2012, Brown announced that the magazine was moving to an all-digital format come January 2013. "It is the right direction and we'd rather embrace the future," Brown said on "CBS This Morning" just after the transition was announced.

In hindsight, Brown told New York, taking over Newsweek was "completely insane, actually."

"Every piece of the Zeitgeist was against Newsweek, combined with an unfixable infrastructure and a set of challenges that really would have required five years in an up economy to solve," Brown said.

Brown, who is no stranger to turning debt-ridden iconic magazine brands back into profit-making machines, compared taking over Newsweek to her experience taking over The New Yorker.

"Within the first few months, one of the partners dies—before we’d even really gotten the office straight," Brown said, referring to Harman. "I came into a situation where pretty much every senior member of management had departed. That was one of the big differences between Newsweek and The New Yorker. When I took over The New Yorker, there was a very, very good, smart staff in place."

Click over to New York to read the entire interview.

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