Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bury Newsweek ... The Sooner the Better...

I say with some passion, as a longstanding former subscriber, death to Newsweek! And no one more deserves to see the magazine die a most ignominious death than current editor Jon Meacham. As indicated by the collection of Newsweek covers below, Meacham practically destroyed the magazine all by himself. Not even the recession could wreak as much havoc. Once a great American institution, Newsweek long ago lost any claim to the honorific of "professional journalism." A laughingstock and disgrace, having abandoned even the tiniest shred of integrity, the magazine sold its soul to the false zeitgeist of the Obama Zombie Interregnum. And as reported today, Newsweek's demise couldn't come too soon (and actually, the end won't be long in coming, despite the whiff of hope at the announcement):
The Washington Post Co. announced Wednesday that it has retained Allen & Company to explore the possible sale of NEWSWEEK magazine. The newsweekly, which has struggled in recent years, was launched in 1933 and purchased by The Washington Post Co. in 1961.

Washington Post Co. Chairman Donald E. Graham came to New York to tell the magazine staff at a 10:30 a.m. ET meeting on Wednesday. "We have reported losses in the tens of millions for the last two years," he said. "Outstanding work by NEWSWEEK's people has significantly narrowed the losses in the last year and particularly in the last few months. But we do not see a path to continuing profitability under our management."

Graham said the company decided to go public with the news to invite as many potential buyers as possible, and said the sale could be completed within a few months. "Our aim will be--if we can do it--a rapid sale to a qualified buyer," he said. "We're a public company and we have to consider the price offered. But we'll have a second and third criteria: the future of NEWSWEEK and the future of those who work here."

In a later meeting, NEWSWEEK Editor Jon Meacham told the editorial staff that he continues to believe in the mission of the company. Meacham said he would do everything he could to ensure the continuation of the magazine, including personally pitching potential buyers. He also reminded the staff that NEWSWEEK wasn't closed today, but was put on the market.
The best analysis I've seen on this is at NYT (of all places):
Newsweek is your father’s magazine, and no amount of reinvention could fix that. The brand still has recognition, but beyond helping its editor, Jon Meacham, get on television and sell some books, it hard to tell what the brand is really worth at this point. The people at the magazine had been told that they had until the end of 2010 to figure it out, but with loses of more than $500,000 a week, the alarm clock rang on the early side.

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2 comments:

Niki said...

I saw Meacham on Jon Stewart tonight and immediately switched to a b-ball game. I once bought a book by this nitwit poseur, who claims to be of a religious heritage. It was about American religion and was a mile wide and a millimeter deep.

How is a featherweight like Meacham going to "pitch" Newsweak to anyone with money or a modicum of common sense? The first thing a buyer would demand is that Meacham separate himself from the acquisition package! Who'd want a flyweight like Meacham in the editor's job?

Whitehall said...

Back in high school in 1969, we were assigned to read either Newsweek or Time.

My impression at the time and subsequently and repeatedly confirmed, is that both are a waste of my time and examples of journalistic malpractice.

It took this long for it to tank?