Washington Post Group

Recent reports that the venerable Newsweek had been put up for sale sent shock waves through the magazine industry. Its long-time owner, the Washington Post Group, had always seemed dedicated to it, and indeed had recently done a thorough redesign and repositioning to make it more competitive. If the Post could sell Newsweek, the industry must be in really bad shape, the thinking went. Well, it is, but let’s hope somebody picks up Newsweek, because it’s become a terrific—and unique—publication under editor Jon Meacham. It has given up trying to compete with Time magazine, reducing its emphasis on original reporting that often duplicated what Time was doing and turning instead to analysis, commentary and lengthy news feature stories. Its new look is fabulous, and its commentaries by the likes of Howard Fineman, Fareed Zakaria, Dahlia Lithwick and Sharon Begley are sharp and provocative. The irony is that, just as it’s being sold, it’s become a much better magazine than it used to be.