When it was announced that Tina Brown, past editor of Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and The Daily Beast, would serve as the Editor-In-Chief of Newsweek, I thought this might just be the jolt of energy and innovation that the nearly 80-year-old magazine needed. News magazines need to change if they are going to remain relevant and Tina Brown seemed like just the person to shepherd such a change at Newsweek. But this week’s cover story, “Diana at 50: If She Were Here Now,” is better suited for The Onion than a publication like Newsweek.
The digitally enhanced cover depicting an aged Diana, with Kate Middleton gazing at her dead mother-in-law, is grotesque and unprofessional. The story, written by Ms. Brown, is sophomoric bordering on offensive. The Editor-In-Chief speculates that Princess Diana would have used Botox, moved to New York City, would have had a rapprochement with her ex-husband and would have “a yen for dashing Muslim men.” A mock-up of Diana’s Facebook page has her friends with Camilla Parker Bowles (and 107,622 other people), getting “poked” by Nicolas Sarkozy and asking Sarah Ferguson “When are we getting drinks?????”
You might be thinking: sure, you criticize the cover story, but you bought the magazine. Actually, I bought the African edition of Newsweek. The cover of this version has a stunning black and white photo of an African woman with the accompanying lead story titled, “Coming Home: Young Exiles are Returning from Across the World to Build the New Nation of South Sudan.”
Now that’s what I expect from a magazine that calls itself Newsweek.