News destination expects heavy press attention

Tina Brown promises the news aggregation website she is developing with Barry Diller will not have an ideological bent a la the Huffington Post.

What it will have, and in spades, is press attention. Brown, since coming to American shores in her 20s to edit Vanity Fair, has been one of media’s pre-eminent buzz magnets.

But the launch of the still-unnamed news site should correspond nicely with Doubleday’s planned 2010 publication of Brown’s “Clinton Chronicles,” a book about Bill and Hillary Clinton.

For Diller’s IAC/Interactive, any publicity should be good publicity. The company is emerging from a rough period in which its stock lost half its value and Diller traded barbs in a bitter court fight with John Malone of IAC’s direction.

The man at the controls of Brown’s news site is managing editor Edward Felsenthal, a longtime Wall Street Journal editor and current consultant at Portfolio magazine. Neither he nor his two big backers has divulged anything about the look and feel of the site.

Conceptually, though, it’s an intriguing test of whether surfers will embrace a one-stop shop for news minus the voice of a blog or the political skew of a Drudge Report or Huffington Post.

Media critic Michael Woolff recently partnered in a competing site to Brown’s called Newser, which is edited by Caroline Miller, onetime editor of New York magazine. Despite skepticism about the format and little in the way of promo splash, the site has grown to about 250,000 unique visitors a month.

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