Newsweek Ditches Publisher, Loses Managing Editor and Election Special [Updated]

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The infamous Michele Bachmann 'Newsweek' cover.

The Tina Brown–led magazine fired its publisher, Ray Chelstowski, today, and, in a move not directly related, lost a top editor as well (Update: make that two — see below), illustrating some ongoing unrest and uncertainty at the struggling weekly, which joined with The Daily Beast last year. Tom Weber resigned from his role as a senior managing editor working directly with Brown and will not be replaced, the New York Times reports. Yesterday it was announced that Newsweek will also cancel its special election issue, which has been a staple of the publication since 1984.

"It was expensive to do, and they’re looking at a lot of red ink," said Peter Goldman, a former Newsweek writer and editor who created the election issue, known internally as simply "the project." For almost two decades the magazine would send a small group of reporters to travel along with presidential candidates with the understanding that the writers would not publish anything until after the election. This not only gave the reporters time to craft intricate narratives, but could also afford them greater access to candidates, who knew their every muttering wouldn't be made public real-time.

The project's cost, though, reportedly approached $1 million in recent election years, and is no longer a viable investment, even if it resulted in great quotes, like John Kerry on George W. Bush in 2004: "I can’t believe I’m losing to this idiot."

So far in 2011, Newsweek's ad pages are down 21 percent.

Update: Times media reporter Jeremy Peters says that executive editor Edward Felsenthal has also resigned. Yikes.

Update 2: Associate editor Sam Jacobs announced this afternoon that he's going to work at Reuters. Meanwhile, Newsweek will bring back Mark Miller to replace Felsenthal as executive editor. Miller worked at the magazine from 1985 until last year. Former managing editor Daniel Klaidman is also coming back on, Adweek reports.