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The Deadline Club Awards honor leaders in memoriam and celebrate the media’s future

Taxis and town cars splashed up to the entrance of New York’s Waldorf Astoria on a recent rainy night for an annual celebration of excellence in journalism. On Monday, May 16, the Deadline Club, the New York chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists,  held its annual awards dinner in a banquet hall at the iconic hotel. Special guest Tina Brown, editor in chief of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, arrived surprisingly early and chatted with a few journalists before entering the cocktail hour, where she and former Democratic Rep. Jane Harman, the widow of Newsweek-chairman Sidney Harman, stood side-by-side almost the whole evening.

Before reporters like New York 1’s Josh Robin, who won an award for investigative reporting, were handed the statues recognizing them for their excellence in the field, members in attendance were asked to pause for a moment of silence for the passing of photojournalist Tim Hetherington, who died in Libya, and Sidney Harman, who died at 92 shortly after purchasing Newsweek. Harman stood to say a few words about her late husband’s desire to “preserve Newsweek,” as he valued what the title had meant to readers in previous years. Like many who spoke that evening, her words were meant to inspire and remind the 200-plus attendees why journalism is important and why the purveyors of its purposes should continue to support the industry.

Deadline Club board member, former vice president of the club, and the New York Post’s Media Ink columnist Keith Kelly interviewed Brown about losing Sidney Harman and the future of Newsweek. As Brown stated in her interview with The New York Times magazine, Newsweek is a globally recognizable brand “like CNN or BBC.” She reiterated that Newsweek is one of the few remaining media outlets with foreign correspondents in Pakistan, Japan, and beyond. This international reach in combination with the timeliness of news appearing on Daily Beast, will prove to be a successful combination to survive today’s news industry. “The plan was [for Daily Beast] to be profitable in a three-to-five-year timeframe,” said Brown. “That was before the merger with Newsweek.”

When questions arose about her former, failed publication Talk Magazine, Brown explained that every job is a learning opportunity and she is convinced that having a weekly print magazine is the way to go. The Web, she explained, is “where news breaks.” The weekly print magazine is where “the news goes once it has been vetted and digested.” Although online news outlets have historically had problems bringing in the advertising revenue that print formerly did, Brown insisted luxury brands would invest in great-looking layouts and great editorial, whether in print or online. She added that her print demographics skewed toward older, wealthier clients these brands wanted to reach.

In a city as fast-paced as New York in a media age where news spreads at the speed of a Tweet, the awards dinner was one night when everything slowed down.

In recognizing those who had died while serving the industry and applauding the up-and-coming graduate students who were already making breakthroughs, this year’s celebration marked a poignant moment in the age of the news industry.

–Rebecca Bredholt

,  members in attendance were asked to pause for a moment of silence for the passing of Tim Hetherington, who died in Lybia, and Sidney Harman, who died at 92 shortly after purchasing Newsweek.

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