The announcement today that the Washington Post Co. intended to put Newsweek up for sale initially appeared to take the media world by surprise and, according to Howie Kurtz, stunned the newsroom into silence. For those who have been following the travails on the magazine in recent years, however, the news should probably have not come as much of a surprise.
Despite a recent, and encouraging, upswing in sales the magazine was painfully (and unnecessarily) late to the Internet game, and while they have been making great strides in the last ten months since their relaunch, they were playing a losing game of catch-up to other news magazines (Time, The Atlantic) who had spent years developing a smart, online brand. I suspect it was a case of too little too late. That said, as Colby Hall pointed out, Newsweek is a nationally recognized brand. Editor Jon Meacham himself has branched out to various platforms — and is apparently looking to purchase himself — so all in things considered it might make for a attractive acquisition. But for who? Here’s the top five people we think should consider buying Newsweek (plus one bonus).
Michael Bloomberg: Yes, his name comes up on every list ever of prospective people who could save struggling media brands. And yes, he just bought business week. But not only does Bloomberg have the cash he also has the ambition. Bloomy will be out of office in three years. A presidential run in unlikely. But this is a man who has grown accustomed to political and intellectual influence, what better way to extend than than buy purchasing a political and intellectual magazine that the sort of people he likes to schmooze with reads.
Rupert Murdoch/ Mort Zuckerman: Dream team! Kidding. But this might be appealing to either of them. Zuckerman already owns US News & World Report and this would be a step up from that. Meanwhile Rupe has demonstrated his need for respectable properties with his sort of disastrous purchase of the Wall St. Journal, but what if Rupe opted to turn Newsweek into a sort of Fox News Weekly. BAM! Get a couple a survival seeds advertisers and you’re all set.
Glenn Beck: This is a man looking to build an Oprah-like empire. He already has a hit cable show, a hit radio show, his own magazine, best-selling books, the ability to make books best-sellers, and a 100 year plan. All that’s missing is an infiltration in the high brow magazine rack. He has the sort of loyal audience that might make for a solid base, again throw in some survival seeds advertisers and voila G-Week.
Nick Denton: The man who launched the online media empire and changed how we write online. Despite all his online success it’s clear that Denton has a deep love for the magazines — or maybe just New York magazine. I have no idea what Denton would do with a weekly magazine, and likely he doesn’t have the funds to make it happen, but I’d be really excited to find out.
Arianna Huffington: HuffWeek! I know. Why would a website buy a magazine? Again, in the case of Newsweek, a lot of it has to do with credibility. Also a nice way to extend HuffPo’s reach, and/or let its longer, non-slideshow pieces shine. Plus they could devote and entire section to the best and/or most unhinged comments of the week.
Sarah Palin: Not really. But, if she did she could totally put Meacham on the cover in a pair of revealing running shorts.
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