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The Daily Beast is a news website founded in 2008 by former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor Tina Brown that primarily aggregates content from across the web.
The site is owned by Barry Diller’s Internet media company IAC/InteractiveCorp and has received most of its funding from the company. The Daily Beast began without advertising and has gradually introduced ads since early 2009. After a round of layoffs, the site had in 2013 about 65 employees, approximately the number it launched with in 2008.
The site includes a mixture of original content and aggregated links in sections devoted to the arts, entertainment, culture, food, politics, and other subjects. In late 2009, The Daily Beast formed a publishing imprint, Beast Books. The Daily Beast was one of the initial partners of the publisher program of the social reading app Zite.
Though the Daily Beast is known for its prowess as an aggregator, it relies on a stable of well-known contributing writers such as Eric Alterman, Leslie Gelb, and Peter Beinart, among others. In 2010, Brown made several high-profile hires for The Daily Beast, including long-time Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz as Washington bureau chief, and Andrew Sullivan, who brought his blog The Daily Dish from The Atlantic. Sullivan left the site in February 2013 and moved to an independent site supported by a user pay plan, and Kurtz was fired in April 2013.
The Daily Beast and Newsweek merged shortly after the magazine was bought by Sidney Harman in 2010. The new entity, initially called The Newsweek Daily Beast Company and later renamed NewsBeast, is owned by Diller and IAC, with Brown serving as the editorial head of both publications. The combined unit was estimated in late 2011 to be on pace to lose about $20 million in the year. Newsweek ceased print publication at the end of 2012, and IAC sold Newsweek to IBT Media in 2013.
Backfence was a network of user-driven hyperlocal news sites that launched in 2005 and closed in 2007. Backfence was founded in 2005 by Mark Potts and Susan DeFife with five staff members and two community sites in the Washington, D.C., area. It raised $3 million in local and national investment and eventually expanded to 13…