The Daily Beast is an American news and opinion website focused on politics and pop culture. In a 2015 interview, editor-in-chief John Avlon described The Beast's editorial approach: "We seek out scoops, scandals, and stories about secret worlds; we love confronting bullies, bigots, and hypocrites".
The Daily Beast began publishing on October 6, 2008. The Beast's founding editor was Tina Brown, a former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker as well as the short-lived Talk magazine. Brown stepped down as editor in September 2013. John Avlon, an American journalist and political commentator as well as a CNN contributor, is the site's editor-in-chief and managing director. In March 2017 former chief strategy and product officer Mike Dyer left for Intel. In May 2017, Heather Dietrick was appointed president and publisher.
In November 2016 Daily Beast President and Publisher Mike Dyer said of the site, "We have always prided ourselves on being independent and nonpartisan and that continues now." In April 2017 Avlon discussed the organization's approach on The Poynter Institute's podcast saying, "Our commitment is to be nonpartisan but not neutral...We're going to hit both sides where appropriate. We're not going to toe any partisan line."
A feature of The Daily Beast is the "Cheat Sheet", billed as "must reads from all over". Published throughout the day, the Cheat Sheet offers a selection of articles from online news outlets on popular stories. The Cheat Sheet includes brief summaries of the article, and a link to read the full text of the article on the website of its provider.
Since the launch, the site has introduced additional sections, including a video Cheat Sheet and Book Beast. The site frequently creates encyclopedic landing pages on topical subjects such as President Obama's inauguration, the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, Michael Jackson, the Iran uprising, and the US Open. In 2014, The Daily Beast became majority mobile and released an iOS app, which Nieman Lab described as "the dawn of the quantified news reader".
Contributors to the publication include notable writers and political activists such as Ana Marie Cox, P. J. O'Rourke, Maajid Nawaz, Olivia Nuzzi, Mike Barnicle, Noah Shachtman, Michael Tomasky, David Frum, Stuart Stevens, , Peter Beinart, Jon Favreau, Kirsten Powers, Erin Gloria Ryan, Daniel Gross, Michael Moynihan, Jamelle Bouie, Lloyd Grove, Daniel Klaidman, Jackie Kucinich, Christopher Dickey, Leslie H. Gelb, Dean Obeidallah, Matt K. Lewis, Ron Christie, Josh Rogin, Eli Lake, Nick Romeo, Christopher Buckley, Bernard Henri Levy, Eleanor Clift, Patricia Murphy, Michelle Goldberg, Martin Amis, John Avlon, Joshua Dubois, Joy-Ann Reid, Goldie Taylor, Michael Weiss, Jimmy Breslin, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Mark McKinnon, Rick Wilson, Touré (journalist), Kim Dozier, Shane Harris, Gordon Chang, Ira Madison III, Harry Siegel and others, including Brown herself. In July 2016 influential food critic Mimi Sheraton was added. In May 2017 Pulitzer Prize winning national security reporter Spencer Ackerman left the Guardian and joined The Daily Beast. When asked about the move Ackerman said, "The Daily Beast is the place to do the kind of journalism that matters most right now..." In June 2017 Huffington Post Senior Political Editor Sam Stein announced he is joining The Daily Beast in the same capacity.
In early June 2014, Capital New York re-published a memo by outgoing CEO Rhona Murphy, stating that The Daily Beast's average unique monthly visitors increased from 13.5 million in 2013 to more than 17 million in 2014.
By September 2014 the website reached a new record of 21 million unique visitors; it was a 60% year-over-year increase in readers, accompanied by a 300% increase in the overall size of its social media community.
In 2015, Ken Doctor, a news analyst for Nieman Lab, reported on Capital New York that The Daily Beast is "one of the fastest-growing news and information sites year-over-year in the 'General News' category".
Editor-in-Chief John Avlon announced in his column at the end of 2016 that they had doubled their traffic from four years before and reached more than one million readers a day.
In a 2017 interview George Clooney complimented the organizations’s development stating, “I really do love what you guys are doing over there, you’ve stepped up the game considerably from when it started, and it’s fun to watch.”
The Daily Beast won a Webby Award for "Best News Site" in 2012 and 2013. Also in 2012 John Avlon won National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ award for best online column in 2012 for The Daily Beast.
In March 2012 "Book Beast," won a National Magazine Award for Website Department, which "Honors a department, channel or microsite."
Anna Nemstova received the Courage in Journalism Award in 2015 from the International Women's Media Foundation. Also that year, Michael Daly won with the National Society of Newspaper Columnists award in the category of Online, Blog, Multimedia – Over 100,000 Unique Visitors.
In 2016 The Los Angeles Press Club nominated several of The Beast’s writers including M.L. Nestel for Arts/Entertainment Investigative, Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins for best Celebrity Investigative, Malcolm Jones for best Obituary, Lizzie Crocker for Humor and Tim Teeman for Industry/ArtsHard News. Also nominated for best in field were Kevin Fallon for Industry/Arts Soft News and Melissa Leon for Industry/Arts Soft News.
The Association of LGBTQ Journalists or NLGJA nominated both Tim Teeman 2016 Journalist of the Year and Heather Boerner Excellence in HIV/AIDS Coverage. In 2017 NLGJA awarded Jay Michaelson for his coverage of GOP Anti-LGBT legislation and Tim Teeman for reporting on ALS.
In 2017 the website won three New York Press Club Journalism Awards in the internet publishing categories of Entertainment News, Crime Reporting and Travel Reporting.
In September 2009, The Daily Beast launched a publishing initiative entitled "Beast Books" that will produce books by Beast writers on an accelerated publishing schedule. The first book published by Beast Books was John Avlon’s "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America.”
In January 2011 they published Stephen L. Carter’s “The Violence of Peace: America’s Wars in the Age of Obama.” Also in 2011 Beast Books published Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee’s memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers.
In February 2010, Jack Shafer of Slate.com claimed that the chief investigative reporter for The Daily Beast, Gerald Posner, had plagiarised five sentences from an article published on the Miami Herald. Shafer also discovered that Posner had plagiarized content from a Miami Herald blog, a Miami Herald editorial, Texas Lawyer magazine and a health care journalism blog. Posner was subsequently fired from The Daily Beast following an internal review.
On November 12, 2010, The Daily Beast and Newsweek announced a merger deal, creating a combined company, The Newsweek Daily Beast Company. On August 3, 2013, IAC, owner of The Daily Beast, sold Newsweek (without "The Daily Beast") to IBT Media, owner of the International Business Times.
In September 2014, one year after Tina Brown's departure was announced, The Daily Beast reached a new record of 21 million unique visitors—a 60% year-over-year increase in readers, accompanied by a 300% increase in the overall size of its social media community.
A 2013 article about the Taliban seeking peaceful negotiations in Afghanistan promoted a direct response from the organization. The Taliban denounced the article as false and claimed The Daily Beast violated of the basic principles of journalism.
Nico Hines' 2016 Olympics article
On August 11, 2016, The Daily Beast published an article titled "I Got Three Grindr Dates in an Hour in the Olympic Village", written by Nico Hines, the site's London editor, who was assigned to cover the Olympic Games. Hines, a heterosexual married man, signed up for several gay and straight dating apps, including Tinder, Bumble and Grindr, and documented his experiences in the Olympic Village. While not specifically naming names, Hines provided enough detail in the article to identify individual athletes, leading to widespread criticism that this information could be used against closeted gay athletes, especially those living in repressive countries. Facing intense backlash online, The Daily Beast edited the piece to remove details that could allow athletes to be identified, and editor in chief John Avlon added a lengthy editor's note. Criticism challenging the value of the piece continued, and The Daily Beast eventually removed the article altogether and issued an apology. In March 2017, Hines issued a formal apology for his actions, and it was announced by the website's editor Hines would be returning to The Daily Beast "following a lengthy period of intense reflection".
Andrew M Seaman, ethics committee chair for the Society of Professional Journalists, called the article "journalistic trash, unethical and dangerous". The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association stated "The reporting was unethical, extremely careless of individual privacy and potentially dangerous to the athletes". Vince Gonzales, professor of professional practice at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism wrote "I think this borders on journalistic malpractice". President of GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis, wrote "How this reporter thought it was OK—or that somehow it was in the public's interest—to write about his deceitful encounters with these men reflects a complete lack of judgment and disregard for basic decency, not to mention the ethics of journalism".
False accusations of Trump support
On August 15, 2016, The Daily Beast published an article by James Kirchick which listed Corey Robin, Glenn Greenwald, Ishaan Tharoor, Katrina vanden Heuvel, and others as "Hillary Clinton-Loathing, Donald Trump-Loving Useful Idiots of the Left". Salon's Ben Norton contacted the people mentioned in the article, all of whom except for one stated they did not support Trump. Jeet Heer, a senior editor at The New Republic, tweeted "Um, none of the people are Trump admirers." Scholar of Russian studies Stephen Cohen accused Kirchick of using "McCarthy-like slurs" in order "to shut off any substantial debate about foreign policy". Journalist Rania Khalek added: "The suggestion that I harbor admiration for Trump is an incredible smear ... Trump is an unhinged and dangerous demagogue who is whipping up fascist sentiments that should concern us all." Christopher Ketcham, who was the exception, stated he supported Trump because he felt his ethics and behavior most closely represented the United States' true values. Kirchick, who has been referred to as a "Clinton-supporting neoconservative", spoke of her as "the candidate of the status quo" and "2016's real conservative".