When newsweeklies reigned

This week marked the deadline for non-binding bids for  Newsweek, the challenged publication The Washington Post Co.  put on the block on May 5.  So far at least four parties have come forward and expressed interest.

These are troubled times for weekly news magazines. On one hand, they must try to keep pace with a ruthless news cycle that shows no sign of slowing.  On the other, the best way to do so would be to become more digital and abandon their print editions — but those are what bring in the most revenue.

It’s not just Newsweek. The parent company of Newsweek’s  main competitor, Time magazine, has been fielding questions from investors and analysts about the likelihood of a possible sale — not just of Time but the whole Time Inc. unit.

During Time Warner’s investor conference in New York last week, Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes put to rest — for now at least — a sale by telling the audience Time Inc. publications have an “attractive lead position in the market.”

Maybe so. Or maybe it’s just really hard to unload magazines at the moment.

Hyperlocal meets hyperlawers at The Washington Post

loudounextra2.JPGThe Wall Street Journal ran a story by Russell Adams on Wednesday about how The Washington Post’s foray into “hyper-local journalism” in Loudoun County, Virginia, didn’t quite work out.

The main points are here:

For believers in the power of rigorous local coverage to help save newspapers, the Washington Post’s launch of last July was a potentially industry-defining event. It paired a journalistic powerhouse with a dream team of Internet geeks to build a virtual town square for one of Virginia’s and the nation’s most-affluent and fastest-growing counties.

Almost a year later, however, the Web site is still searching for an audience. Its chief architect has left for another venture in Las Vegas, and his team went with him. And while Post executives say they remain committed to providing so-called hyperlocal news coverage, they are re-evaluating their approach.

Washington Post editors stay on message

Say what you will, but The Washington Post’s editors know how to get their stories straight before printing them. Here are the complete memos about Susan Glasser’s resignation as AME (Assistant Managing Editor) of the National section. Aside from Glasser’s use of the pronoun “I,” we would dare you to tell who wrote which.

Here’s Glasser:

A year and a half ago, I was named AME for this section, and we set off together in pursuit of an amazing set of stories, from the
earliest-starting, never-ending presidential primary camapign (sic) to the grinding war in Iraq in the twilight of the Bush era. It was a privilege and an honor to work with all of you on the tremendous coverage that ensued, all the more so because you have produced this courageous and innovative journalism at a time of great peril and handwringing over our business and our paper. And you’ve worked hard together to take on some of those challenges, whether by helping build a new political team for this most historic of elections, or taking our reporting and analysis online in important new ways or by helping taking part in a major redesign of the A section and significant reorganization of an editing system that had gone largely unchanged since the waning of the transitor (sic) radio. I’m leaving to work on a new project with [Washington Post Co CEO] Don Graham but will continue to watch what happens here with great admiration and support. Many many thanks to all of you.


Here’s Executive Editor Len Downie Jr and Managing Editor Phil Bennett:

After a year and a half as AME/National, Susan Glasser will be taking on an assignment working for Don Graham.