Talk silenced, but Brown spouts off

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."

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