Newsweek, May 24, 2009
Editor Tina Brown Categories News magazine Frequency Weekly Circulation 1,578,691 (2010) Publisher Ray Chelstowski First issue February 17, 1933 Company The Newsweek Daily Beast Company Country United States Based in New York, New York Language English Website Newsweek.com ISSN 0028-9604
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence. Newsweek is published in four English language editions and 12 global editions written in the language of the circulation region.
Since 2008, Newsweek has undergone a series of internal and external contractions designed to shift the magazine's focus and audience while shoring up the title's finances. Instead, losses at the newsweekly accelerated: revenue dropped 38 percent from 2007 to 2009. The revenue freefall prompted an August 2010 sale by owner The Washington Post Company to 92-year-old audio pioneer Sidney Harman—reportedly for a purchase price of $1.00 and an assumption of the magazine's liabilities. Editor Jon Meacham departed from the magazine upon completion of the sale.
In November 2010 Newsweek merged with the news and opinion website The Daily Beast after extensive negotiations between the proprietors of the respective publications. Tina Brown, The Daily Beast's editor-in-chief was expected to serve as the editor of both publications. Newsweek is jointly owned by Harman and IAC.
- 1 Circulation and branches
- 2 History
- 3 Highlights and controversies
- 4 Contributors and reporters
- 5 Cultural references
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes and references
- 8 External links
Circulation and branches
In 2003, worldwide circulation was more than 4 million, including 2.7 million in the U.S; by 2010 it was down to 1.5 million (with newsstand sales declining to just over 40 thousand copies per week). Newsweek publishes editions in Japanese, Korean, Polish, Spanish, Rioplatense Spanish, Arabic, and Turkish, as well as an English language Newsweek International. Russian Newsweek, published since 2004, was shuttered in October 2010. The Bulletin (an Australian weekly until 2008) incorporated an international news section from Newsweek.
Based in New York City, the magazine has 22 bureaus: nine in the U.S.: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago/Detroit, Dallas, Miami, Washington, D.C., Boston and San Francisco, as well as overseas in London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Jerusalem, Baghdad, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, South Asia, Cape Town, Mexico City and Buenos Aires.
Founding and early years
Newsweek was launched in 1933 by a group of U.S. stockholders "which included Ward Cheney, of the Cheney silk family, John Hay Whitney, and Paul Mellon, son of Andrew W. Mellon". Paul Mellon's ownership in Newsweek apparently represented "the first attempt of the Mellon family to function journalistically on a national scale."
To launch Newsweek, the group of original owners invested around $2.5 million. Other large stockholders prior to 1946 were a public utilities investment banker named Stanley Childs and a Wall Street corporate lawyer and director of various corporations named Wilton Lloyd-Smith.
In 1937 Newsweek merged with the weekly journal Today, which had been founded in 1932 by future New York Governor and diplomat W. Averell Harriman, and Vincent Astor of the prominent Astor family. As a result of the deal, Harriman and Astor provided Newsweek with $600,000 in venture capital funds and Vincent Astor became both Newsweek's chairman of the board and its principal stockholder between 1937 and his death in 1959.
In 1937, Malcolm Muir took over as president and editor-in-chief. Muir changed the name to Newsweek, emphasized interpretive stories, introduced signed columns, and launched international editions. Over time it developed a broad spectrum of material, from breaking stories and analysis to reviews and commentary.
Under Post ownership
Richard M. Smith became Chairman in 1998, the year that the magazine inaugurated their "Best High Schools in America" list, a ranking of public secondary schools based on the Challenge Index, which measures the ratio of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams taken by students to the number of graduating students that year, regardless of the scores earned by students or the difficulty in graduating. Schools with average SAT scores above 1300 or average ACT scores above 27 are excluded from the list; these are categorized instead as "Public Elite" High Schools. In 2008, there were 17 Public Elites. He left the post in December 2007.
Restructuring and new owner
During 2008–2009, Newsweek undertook a dramatic restructuring of its business. Citing difficulties in competing with online news sources to provide unique news in a weekly publication, the magazine repositioned its content towards opinion and commentary beginning with its May 24, 2009 issue. It shrank its subscriber rate base, from 3.1 million to 2.6 million in early 2008, to 1.9 million in July 2009 and then to 1.5 million in January 2010—a decline of 50% in one year. Meacham described his strategy as "counterintuitive" as it involved discouraging renewals and nearly doubling subscription prices as it sought a more affluent base of subscribers to offer to advertisers. During this period, the magazine also laid off staff. While advertising revenues were down almost 50% compared to the prior year, expenses were also diminished in a planned strategy that the publishers hoped would return Newsweek to profitability.
The financial results for 2009 as reported by The Washington Post Company showed that advertising revenue for Newsweek was down 37% in 2009 and the magazine division reported an operating loss for 2009 of $29.3 million compared to a loss of $16 million in 2008. During the magazine's first quarter of 2010, it lost nearly $11 million.
By May 2010, Newsweek had been losing money for the past two years and was put up for sale. The sale attracted international unidentified bidders. One bidder was Syrian entrepreneur Abdulsalam Haykal, CEO of Syria-based publishing company Haykal Media, who brought together a coalition of Middle Eastern investors with his company. Haykal later claimed his bid was ignored by Newsweek's bankers, Allen & Co.
The magazine was sold to audio pioneer Sidney Harman on August 2, 2010, for $1 in exchange for assuming the magazine's financial liabilities. Harman's bid was accepted over three competitors. Meacham left the magazine upon completion of the sale. Sidney Harman was the husband of Jane Harman (D-CA), at that time a member of Congress from California.
Merger with The Daily Beast
At the end of 2010, Newsweek merged with the online publication The Daily Beast, following extensive negotiations between the respective proprietors. Tina Brown, The Daily Beast's editor-in-chief, became editor of both publications. The new entity, The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, was 50% owned by IAC and 50% by Harman.
The goal of the new Newsweek Daily Beast Company is to have The Daily Beast be a source of instant analysis of the news, while Newsweek would serve to take a look at the bigger picture, provide deeper analysis, and "connect the dots," in the words of Harman, and to ultimately return both publications to profit-making.
During her tenure as editor-in-chief of Newsweek, Brown has taken the news weekly in a different direction than her predecessor. Whereas Jon Meacham looked to make the focus solely on politics and world affairs, Brown has brought the focus back on to all of current events, not just politics, business, and world affairs (although these issues are still the focus of the magazine). This is seen in increased attention fashion and pop culture and many of her covers since taking the job.
Newsweek was redesigned in March 2011. The new Newsweek moves the "Perspectives" section to the front of the magazine, where it serves essentially as a highlight reel of the past week on The Daily Beast. More room is made available in the front of the magazine for columns by columnists, editors, and special guests. A new "News Gallery" section features two page spreads of photographs from the week with a brief article accompanying each one. The "NewsBeast" section features short articles, a brief interview with a newsmaker, and several graphs and charts for quick reading in the style of The Daily Beast. This is where the Newsweek staple "Conventional Wisdom" is now located. Brown retains Newsweek's focus on in depth, analytical features and original reporting on politics and world affairs, as well as a new focus on longer fashion and pop culture features. A larger, revamped culture section named "Omnivore" features articles and columns written about art, music, books, film, theater, food, travel, and television, including a weekly "Books" and "Want" section. The back page is reserved for a "My Favorite Mistake" column written by a celebrity guest columnist about a mistake they made that defines who they are.
Highlights and controversies
Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff was the first reporter to investigate allegations of a sexual relationship between U.S. President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, but the editors spiked the story. The story soon surfaced online in the Drudge Report.
Claims of bias
A 2004 study by Tim Groseclose and Jeff Milyo asserted that Newsweek, along with a number of other mainstream news outlets, exhibited a "liberal bias." While liberal media watchdogs described the study as "riddled with flaws," their opposite numbers had similarly commented on Newsweek's alleged liberal bias.
Newsweek's Washington Bureau Chief and later Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas variously acknowledged the charge saying, "I think Newsweek is a little liberal," and "there is a liberal bias at Newsweek, the magazine I work for."
The magazine has been publishing articles by conservative columnist George F. Will since 1976, when he became a contributing editor, writing a biweekly backpage column. As of 2011, Will still writes for Newsweek.
Guantánamo Bay allegations
In the May 9, 2005 issue of Newsweek, an article by reporter Michael Isikoff stated that interrogators at Guantanamo Bay "in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet." Detainees had earlier made similar complaints but this was the first time a government source had appeared to confirm the story. The news was reported to be a cause of widespread rioting and massive anti-American protests throughout some parts of the Islamic world (causing at least 15 deaths in Afghanistan). The magazine later revealed that the anonymous source behind the allegation could not confirm that the book-flushing was actually under investigation, and retracted the story under heavy criticism.
Iraq war planning
Fareed Zakaria, a Newsweek columnist and editor of Newsweek International, attended a secret meeting on November 29, 2001, with a dozen policy makers, Middle East experts and members of influential policy research organizations that produced a report for President George W. Bush and his cabinet outlining a strategy for dealing with Afghanistan and the Middle East in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. The meeting was held at the request of Paul D. Wolfowitz, then the deputy secretary of defense. The unusual presence of journalists, who also included Robert D. Kaplan of The Atlantic Monthly, at such a strategy meeting was revealed in Bob Woodward's 2006 book State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III. Woodward reported in his book that, according to Mr. Kaplan, everyone at the meeting signed confidentiality agreements not to discuss what happened. Mr. Zakaria told The New York Times that he attended the meeting for several hours but did not recall being told that a report for the President would be produced. On October 21, 2006, after verification, the Times published a correction that stated:
An article in Business Day on Oct. 9 about journalists who attended a secret meeting in November 2001 called by Paul D. Wolfowitz, then the deputy secretary of defense, referred incorrectly to the participation of Fareed Zakaria, the editor of Newsweek International and a Newsweek columnist. Mr. Zakaria was not told that the meeting would produce a report for the Bush administration, nor did his name appear on the report.
Editorial of Ramin Setoodth
Palin & Bachmann covers
Former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin was featured on the cover of the November 23, 2009 issue of Newsweek, with the caption "How do you Solve a Problem Like Sarah?" featuring an image of Palin in athletic attire and posing. Palin herself, the Los Angeles Times and other commentators accused Newsweek of sexism for their choice of cover in the November 23, 2009 issue discussing Palin's book, Going Rogue: An American Life. "It's sexist as hell," wrote Lisa Richardson for the Los Angeles Times. Taylor Marsh of The Huffington Post called it "the worst case of pictorial sexism aimed at political character assassination ever done by a traditional media outlet." David Brody of CBN News stated: "This cover should be insulting to women politicians."
The cover includes a photo of Palin used in the August 2009 issue of Runner's World. The photographer may have breached his contract with Runner's World when he permitted its use in Newsweek, as Runner's World maintained certain rights to the photo until August 2010. It is uncertain, however, whether this particular use of the photo was prohibited.
Minnesota Republican Congresswoman and Presidential Candidate Michele Bachmann was featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine in August 2011, dubbed "the Queen of Rage". The photo of her was perceived as unflattering, as it portrayed her with a wide eyed expression some said made her look "crazy". Sources called the depiction "sexist", and Sarah Palin denounced the publication. Newsweek defended the cover's depiction of her, saying its other photos of Bachmann showed similar intensity.
Contributors and reporters
Notable regular contributors to Newsweek include:
- The 2000 film Harrison's Flowers is the story of a Newsweek photojournalist lost in the war-torn former Yugoslavia.
Notes and references
- ^ Audit Bureau of Circulations, FAS-FAX report for consumer magazines. In 2011 State of the News Media, Pew Research Center for Excellence in Journalism
- ^ Grove, Peter; Lloyd Grove (August 3, 2010). "How Newsweek Blew It". The Daily Beast. http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-08-03/newsweek-losses-revealed/. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- ^ a b c Peters, Jeremy W. (August 2, 2010). "Audio Pioneer Buys Newsweek". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/business/media/03newsweek.html. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- ^ a b Brown, Tina (November 11, 2010). "Daily Beast, Newsweek to Wed!". The Daily Beast. http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-11-11/the-daily-beast-and-newsweek-to-wed/. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
- ^ a b "The Daily Beast and Newsweek confirm merger". The Spy Report (Media Spy). November 12, 2010. http://www.mediaspy.org/report/2010/11/12/us-the-daily-beast-and-newsweek-confirm-merger/. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
- ^ "Publisher Shuts Russian Weekly". The Wall Street Journal. October 19, 2010.
- ^ America's 60 Families by Ferdinand Lundberg
- ^ Instant History: Review of First Newsweek with Cover Photo
- ^ Salisbury, Harrison E. (March 10, 1961). "Washington Post Buys Newsweek. It Acquires 59% of Stock From Astor Foundation for $8,000,000.". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0A1FF93F5D1B728DDDA90994DB405B818AF1D3. Retrieved 2008-04-14. "The Washington Post Company bought control of Newsweek magazine yesterday from the Vincent Astor Foundation. The sale ended several weeks of intensive negotiation involving a number of publishing companies."
- ^ The Complete List of the 1,200 Top U.S. High Schools
- ^ Newsweek (2008): List of Public Elites
- ^ http://www.newsweek.com/authors/richard-m-smith.html Richard M. Smith
- ^ Pérez-Peña, Richard (January 16, 2009). "The Popular Newsweekly Becomes a Lonely Category". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/17/business/media/17weeklies.html. Retrieved 2009-01-17.
- ^ Deveny, Kathleen (May 18, 2009). "Reinventing Newsweek". Newsweek. http://www.newsweek.com/id/195620. Retrieved 2009-05-29.
- ^ "A Smaller But Better Newsweek?". Howard Kurtz. The Washington Post, May 18, 2009
- ^ Richard Pérez-Peña. "Glimmers of Progress at a Leaner Newsweek". The New York Times. November 15, 2009.
- ^ Washington Post Financial Release February 24, 2010
- ^ "Newsweek magazine is sold by Washington Post". BBC News. 2 August 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10847466. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- ^ Andrew Vanacore. "Newsweek Sale: Washington Post Looking To Sell Newsweek". The Huffington Post.
- ^ Joe Pompeo. "Syrian Bidder Who Wanted To Buy Newsweek Was Ignored". Business Insider. August 5, 2010.
- ^ Jeremy W. Peters. Newsweek Deal to Be Announced Today. The New York Times. August 2, 2010.
- ^ Ahrens, Frank (August 3, 2010). "Harman Media buys Newsweek from Washington Post Co. for Undisclosed Amount". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/02/AR2010080203970.html. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- ^ Farhi, Paul (November 12, 2010). "Struggling Newsweek joins with fledging Web site Daily Beast". The Washington Post: p. C8.
- ^ "First Look: The Newsweek Redesign". Society of Publication Designers. http://www.spd.org/2011/03/first-look-the-newsweek-relaun.php. March 7, 2011
- ^ "Scandalous scoop breaks online". BBC. 25 January 1998. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/special_report/1998/clinton_scandal/50031.stm. Retrieved 2010-07-13.
- ^ "Former fellows at conservative think tanks issued flawed UCLA-led study on media's "liberal bias", Media Matters for America, Dec 21, 2005
- ^ Eric Alterman, "Think Again: Rigging the Numbers", Center for American Progress, January 12, 2006
- ^ Cliff Kincaid. "Liberal Bias at Newsweek". January 27, 2005.
- ^ "Media Bias Basics" Media Research Center
- ^ "Media Bias Basics – Admissions of Liberal Bias" Media Research Center
- ^  Audio Clip
- ^ Cal Thomas. "Turner Misreads His Non-audience". Los Angeles Times Syndicate.
- ^ "Karzai condemns anti-US protests". BBC. 14 May 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4547413.stm. Retrieved 2007-12-24.
- ^ a b Julie Bosman. "Secret Iraq Meeting Included Journalists". The New York Times. October 9, 2006.
- ^ The O-Team: A Response
- ^ "Newsweek's sexism and Sarah Palin." Los Angeles Times. November 17, 2009. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
- ^ Marsh, Taylor. "What Was Newsweek Thinking?" The Huffington Post. November 18, 2009. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
- ^ Brody, David. "Newsweek Photo of Palin Shows Media Bias and Sexism." CBN News. November 16, 2009. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
- ^ Snead, Elizabeth. "Sarah Palin hates her 'sexist' Newsweek cover. Does she really?" Zap2it. November 17, 2009. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
- ^ Clift, Eleanor. "Payback Time: Why Right-Wing Men Rush to Palin's Defense." Newsweek. Monday November 16, 2009. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
- ^ "Palin angered by 'sexist' Newsweek cover." Yahoo! News. November 17, 2009. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
- ^ Bercovici, Jeff. "Palin photographer breached contract with sale to Newsweek." Daily Finance. November 18, 2009. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
- ^ http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0811/60941.html
- ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/08/newsweeks-michele-bachman_n_920860.html
- ^ The Washington Post. August 9, 2011. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/michele-bachmann-newsweek-cover/2011/08/08/gIQAPpUc2I_blog.html.
- ^ "Bachmann Newsweek Cover Goes for Insult But Gets Criticism in Return". Fox News. August 9, 2011. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/08/09/bachmann-newsweek-cover-goes-for-insult-but-gets-criticism-in-return/.
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