The demise of Talk Magazine has provided many media and culture pundits with the opportunity to wax away on what’s wrong with a wide array of things today: magazine publishing, the British, Tina Brown (of course), Hollywood, liberals, buzz, even Bill Clinton. Here’s an example of the “why Tina toppled” genre from Andrew Sullivan:
Her largess almost killed off other magazines. As editor of The New Republic during Ms. Brown’s heyday, I watched as almost every single young writer I found was immediately offered small fortunes by Tina to decamp. She didn’t so much scout for talent as read other magazines and bribe it. She operated a magazine less as a home for likeminded writers and editors than as a Hollywood studio in which big names were signed up for vast sums, and often kept idle.
I think the demise of Talk Magazine has a simpler explanation. It’s that after spending $50 million, the magazine still didn’t know what it was about. To prove my point, visit their website’s “about us” page and you’ll see the “under construction” message at left.