The Reading Room

The Daily Beast

When Tina Brown, former Editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, launched the Daily Beast in October 2008 she said that it is not an “aggregator” – meaning it will not merely collect stories a la Yahoo News, but will “sift, sort and curate” the web every day, combining some original stuff with links to other sites’ content. Whether that’s “aggregation” or not, it’s a fairly standard approach to the web so Brown was quick to highlight why people should visit the Beast. “Sensibility, darling,” was her answer. She hoped that if you liked the site’s sensibility in “choosing news and opinion, then you’ll trust us to be the lens you view it through.”

Two years later she has been proved right. It’s not just the calibre of writers flocking to her Daily Beast that is making the site a must-read for any serious news consumer. It’s also the willingness of the Beast’s editors to slash and sift the day’s top headlines so you can quickly digest the most essential elements. As a news site, it’s something of a triple threat: a trendsetter, an insightful and analytical clearinghouse of events and ideas, and thanks to the thorough and easy-to-scan Cheat Sheet, quite the time saver.

Since launch, the site has introduced additional sections, including a video “Cheat Sheet”, “Book Beast”, “Hungry Beast”, and “Sexy Beast” a Fashion and Entertainment section. The site frequently creates encyclopedic landing pages on topical subjects such as Obama’s inauguration, the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, Michael Jackson, the Iran uprising, and the US Open. Major advertisers have now jumped on board from HBO to British Airways. In November 2010, The Daily Beast announced that it will merge with the American weekly news magazine Newsweek in a joint venture to form The Newsweek Daily Beast Company. Brown will serve as Editor-in-Chief of both publications.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, the name of the site is derived from that of the fictional newspaper in Evelyn Waugh’s novel Scoop.

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