There is oh so much more news and opinion about the saga of The Washington Post Co.’s intended sale of Newsweek. We rounded up a great deal yesterday, but the spigot remains open. The flood of information threatens to overwhelm, but fear not — we have broken the coverage down into five categories, to help digest all the jibber-jabber.
After the jump: the Eulogy, the Economic Eulogy, the “Who Could Buy It?”, the Jack Shafer, and the They Love Obama Too Much.
Newsweek isn’t on the gurney just yet yet, but that isn’t stopping some outlets from flashing its life before our eyes. The Daily Beast offers a retrospective on Newsweek‘s best work and, of course, a slideshow of the magazine’s best covers.
The Economic Eulogy
Much of the commentary centers on Newsweek‘s financial precariousness. Forbes says that financial statements by The Washington Post Co. indicate that declines in revenue are outpacing cost-cutting measures. Those are the makings of a sinking ship, something The Business Insider helpfully pointed out yesterday.
Ira Stoll over at The Future of Capitalism highlights the irony of Washington Post Co. CEO Donald Graham’s’s hopes that a buyer with deeper pockets can help save Newsweek:
More resources? The Washington Post Company has a market capitalization of about $4.6 billion, cash on hand of $862 million, and pays a $9 a share annual dividend, according to Yahoo! Finance. The company’s directors include, in Warren Buffett and Melinda French Gates, representatives of two of the two richest families in America. How much “more” resources would be required to get Newsweek to profitability, and don’t you kind of think that if it were possible to do at a reasonable return on investment, Donald Graham would have already done it?
An anonymous Newsweek source tells The Atlantic what Graham might have meant. The source says that The Washington Post doesn’t have the economies of scale regarding magazine production to make Newsweek work. The incremental cost of publishing a magazine declines the more a company puts out; Washington Post doesn’t feel it can afford to put out just one.
The ‘Who Could Buy It?’
Not everyone’s taking the dismal approach. Mediaite offers five potential Newsweek buyers. On first glance, the candidates seem fairly jokey — Michael Bloomberg, Nick Denton, Glenn Beck — but who knows. The Wrap does Mediaite one better, laying Vegas-style odds on potential purchasers.
The Jack Shafer
Slate’s Jack Shafer offers a joke- and metaphor-filled historical analysis of the long, slow death of the newsweekly. He traces the terminal patient’s symptoms through three decades of pain, concluding that, like Newsweek, “We all die,” but new and wonderful things are being born all the time.
The They Love Obama Too Much
In a long column about the Newsweek sale, Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post mentions in passing that the magazine has skewed left of late:
I lost track of the number of Barack and Michelle covers, one of them based on a Meacham interview with the president. And a couple of its top political writers double as MSNBC commentators.
This doesn’t bother him too much, but at least one blogger over at NewsBusters think Newsweek‘s political leanings have something to do with its current predicament. FishbowlNY commenter star1234 echoed the sentiment rather forcefully yesterday:
The WE ARE ALL SOCIALISTS NOW cover–regret it? Or the many with Obama in a halo, looking dreamy, with a cross, etc. Regret those? That’s when I cancelled after 40 yrs.
As usual, we’ll continue to keep you apprised as more media heads jump on this story. We may even do a little jumping ourselves, so stay tuned.