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Arianna Huffington and Tina Brown: The 2.0 Version

27blogs.1.190.jpgIt comes as no surprise that now that The Daily Beast is a (well-ish known) we are being greeted by the requisite storyline casting Arianna Huffington and Tina Brown as new media, cut-throat rivals! However! You may be surprise to learn that the two actually go way back.

The two knew of each other during their college years in the early 1970s, when Ms. Brown was at Oxford and Ms. Huffington was at Cambridge, but were not close. They became friends later that decade…It was Harry Evans, the editor of The Sunday Times and Ms. Brown’s husband, who cemented the friendship in 1979, when he paid an advance of 150,000 pounds, the equivalent of $317,000 at the time, for the serialization rights to the Callas book…”In a way, I owe Harry Evans for my career,” said Ms. Huffington.

It gets better. Turns out they were also partners in parties!

At the glittering book parties held by George Weidenfeld, the British publisher, the two honed their virtuosic networking skills. Marie Brenner, an author and Vanity Fair writer, knew both in London in those days, and recalled a moment when Edward Heath, the former British prime minister, entered the room and made an immediate beeline to Ms. Brown and Ms. Huffington.

Really, does this surprise anyone? Where the two part ways these days arguably lies in their vision of how a website should work — in short Brown continuously points out that The Daily Beast is “curated” (and it is) whereas The Huffington Post, well, isn’t. Something that clearly hasn’t hindered Arianna’s success, one bit, though whether it is a format that will find success after the election remains to be seen. According to Brown the two may also part ways in their editorial styles: “I don’t know how Arianna has figured out how to be on a boat and be editor of HuffPo at the same time, but she can do it.”

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