Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Video: New Newsweek Owner Sidney Harman–"I'm Not Here to Make Money"

Sidney Harman took Newsweek off the Washington Post’s hands yesterday, and this is how he greeted the troops in a late-afternoon meeting.

The video is pretty self-explanatory, but if you don’t want to put in the 13 minutes, here are some takeaways:

  • He looks and sounds pretty good! I know many people who aren’t close to 91 years old, and they’d be very happy to have Harman’s vigor.
  • “I’m not here to make money,” Harman says, but he would like the magazine to break even someday.
  • How might that happen? He’s vague, but does say, “I believe that there is a new equilibrium developing…among mobile, print, and digital. This is very close, in my conviction, to a significant inflection point in the history of journalism.”
  • Harman is a big fan of 20th century American writer Maxwell Anderson, who is new to me but whom Wikipedia describes as an accomplished playwright. Harman spends the last couple of minutes reciting an excerpt from the Anderson essay “Our Best Hope.”

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald