The purchase of Newsweek for less than you can buy a copy on the newsstands is supposed to be good news.
It's not going out of business right?
What's with that echo?
So what is wrong with the $1 sale from the Washington Post Company to Sidney Harman?
1. The Buyer. Sidney Harman is the founder and chairman emeritus of Harman International. He's not an idiot. But at 91 he's also not exactly cutting-edge -- which is exactly what a 73-year-old magazine with flagging readership desperately needs at the moment. As @gruber quipped on Twitter, "Has anyone confirmed whether Sidney Harman, 91-year-old purchaser of Newsweek, has heard of the Internet?" Not to mention his wife is a member of Congress; so much for unbiased political reporting.
2. The Price. $1 sounds like a joke. Unfortunately it's not. If that's all Newsweek is worth, what does it say for the "venerable" brand?
3. The Plan. The Daily Beast reports Harman has said his "goal isn't to make a profit any time soon, but rather to reach break-even by 2013." Will either entity still be alive then?
4. The Staff. Editor Jon Meacham is leaving. The rest is staying, at least according to Harman. Editors may come and go, but will this change mean a staff running like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off?
5. The Readers. Numbers are down. Down. Down. And I confess I'm one of the reasons. Reading Newsweek was like a habit cultivated by years of the magazine arriving in my mailbox as a child. So when was the last time I sat down with a physical magazine?
Will you read the new Newsweek?
Image via Newsweek