NEW YORK: Following the decision by Miramax and the Hearst
Corporation on January 18 to withdraw their joint funding of Talk,
editor-in-chief Tina Brown embarked on an impromptu PR campaign,
attempting to posthumously rebrand the buzz-seeking glossy as a scrappy
independent outmatched by its more entrenched, flagship competitors.
"Tina knew what she wanted to say, and how she wanted to say it," said
one insider. "She felt it was important to get that message across."
During its two-and-a-half years in existence, Talk spared few expenses,
burning through a reported $50 million. But in numerous
interviews about its demise, Brown used language more commonly
associated with the now-defunct Lingua Franca, depicting her editorial
team, well-known for its high turnover, as "a band of spirited
mavericks," a "guerrilla force ... fighting the big boys, defeating the
The imagery surrounding the once-glamorous title was also given a
redesign: At the splashy party thrown to mark Talk's launch, Brown
hobnobbed with A-listers on Liberty Island. To commemorate its exit, she
shared pizza and drinks with her staffers at a low-key get-together at a
deputy editor's East Village apartment.
Brown's efforts to shape the story of Talk's shuttering were aided by
the tight lid its backers kept in the days leading up to the
announcement - a silence that held up until Matt Drudge broke the story
on his website a few hours before an official announcement was made.
"Miramax has an operation with Harvey where they don't have many leaks,"
said Howard Rubenstein, who has worked with both the movie company and
Talk. "They came up with a strategy, and that strategy, while painful
for many, was the right one from a PR standpoint."