Newsweek Gets Sold to Sidney Harman. So Long, Newsweek

NewsweekCongratulations to Washington Post Co. (WPO). It got what it wanted: Someone else to take the blame for killing Newsweek.

According to multiple reports, the Post Co. has reached a deal to sell the magazine to Sidney Harman, a 91-year-old mogul who made his fortune selling audio equipment. When the obituaries for Newsweek are printed, they'll likely say it was Harman (or his heirs) who made the painful, difficult decision to euthanize an iconic brand.

That's not fair, because it was the Post Co. that sealed Newsweek's doom by systematically disqualifying potential buyers who might have had some hope of securing its long-term future. Hedge fund Avenue Capital proposed to trim Newsweek's budget by farming out business-side operations to American Media, an arrangement that Playboy has used with some success. Post Co. Chairman Donald Graham nixed that on the grounds that American Media publishes the National Enquirer. He also ruled out selling to Newsmax Media, which could have paired Newsweek with its profitable monthly current-events title, because of Newsmax's conservative editorial bent.

What Will Harmon's Successors Do?

And so the Post Co. settled on Harman, who, as a proprietor, leaves much to be desired. For one thing, he's not without political baggage of his own: His wife, Jane Harman, is a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. (A challenger for Harman's seat is already using the connection to try to discredit the magazine.) Harmon doesn't have any experience in publishing. And there's the question of his age: Though Harman is by all accounts healthy and vigorous, basic biology suggests he won't be so for much longer. It's unreasonable to think Harman's successors will share his quixotic interest in saving a property that screams 20th-century relic.

The one thing Harman has going for him is he's willing to ensure that Newsweek's death is a gradual one. He has reportedly promised to retain 250 of the magazine's 325 employees, fewer than former U.S. News & World Report executive Fred Drasner, another rejected suitor, was willing to support. According to The New York Times, "Mr. Graham, who is said to be concerned not only with the magazine's legacy but the legacy of his family's stewardship of the magazine, wanted the sale to cause as few disruptions as possible."

A thought: When you're losing $70 million a year, isn't a disruption exactly what you need?

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kevinthaas

newsweek failed because its a LIBERAL RAG and thats all

August 03 2010 at 11:32 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Michael

It's too late for Newsweek, no matter what the buyer does. Its editorial content has been slanted so far to the left that middle-of-the-road or center-right readers like myself, who subscribed and read it faithfully for years, have all departed and won't be back, no matter what the new publisher does. The country does not need another far left tract preaching to a handful of followers. The Nation has fulfilled that role for years, losing pots of money but satisfying its minute audience. The new regime may keep the magazine alive indefinitely, but it will never be well again.

August 03 2010 at 11:08 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
boowah

I've been a Newsweek subscriber for twenty years but I refused to renew this year! Why? Because their magazine has been reduced to the size of a religious tract! Did they think I wouldn't notice the full page ads stuffed into it as filler! I was able to read what little news they contained in 5 minutes. Their magazine is now junk. The sooner they fold the better!

August 03 2010 at 10:10 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
wasabimon

NOW ITS OWNED BY A GUY WHOSE WIFE IS A RIGHT WING ISRAEL SUPPORTER MASQUERADING AS A DEMOCRAT---SHE DOESNT TRY TO HIDE IT THOUGH---SHES SO RIGHT WING

August 03 2010 at 9:48 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
Shirley

NO WONDER NEWSWEEK WAS ON ITS WAY OUT. THIS MAGAZINE LEANS SO FAR "LEFT" THAT IT'S OFF KILTER AND HEADED DOWN THE TUBES. NEEDS A NEW FAIR AND BALANCED OUTLOOK NOT JUST TAINTED LEFTIE OPINIONS.

August 03 2010 at 9:30 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Shirley's comment
wasabimon

YOUR RIGHT WING IS WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE STATE OF THE COUNTRY AND THE WORLD---WHILE THE LEFT WING CANT GET IT TOGETHER--THE RIGHT WING HAS DONE NOTHING BUT DESTROY THE PLAYGROUND LIKE A BUNCH OF SPITEFUL PUNKS---AND TO THEIR BENIFIT NO LESS

August 03 2010 at 9:51 AM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
flwestie911

Lets see. Newsweek changed its format with the worst flow a magazine ever had, made the print smaller and placed the black letters on dark backrounds. Hmmm. Not exactly the best reading conditions for Boomers who are probably the bulk of the readers. I gave up .I am 64 years old and have had a Newsweek subscription since high school. Not any more. Bye, bye , Newsweek.

August 03 2010 at 9:19 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
jacpar4105

hello,nobody is reading that left wing B.S. anymore,when these orginizations start reporting the news instead of slanting it to the left,maybe people will come back,not likely to happen,they will go down like the Titanic,and take MSMBC with them,a great day for America,cant wait,Adios leftwingers

August 03 2010 at 8:13 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
red

Another liberal rag suffers its demise. I think the biggest killer of present day mags and newspapers was endorsing the socialist candidate in 2008...seems there is a god after all...a headline in newsweek like that could bring it back.

August 03 2010 at 8:05 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
pittsengineering

I SUBSCRIBED ABOUT A YEAR AGO FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 20 YEARS, AFTER USN&WR BASICALLY COLLAPSED. I WILL NOT BE RENEWING. ABSOLUTELY A ONE-SIDED, LEFT-WING PUBLICATION WITHOUT EVEN PRETENDING TO BE FAIR OR BALANCED. THE ONE OCCASIONAL COLUMN BY GEORGE WILL IS THE ONLY SOP FOR THE "OTHER SIDE". A JUNK PUBLICATION.

August 03 2010 at 7:36 AM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
zattico

if this man is a rich democrat newsweek will not have to make any money he could give it away and get government money to bail it out something like government motors but he will have to getsome labor union involved or illegals

August 03 2010 at 7:21 AM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply