Jane Harman Takes Husband’s Spot on NewsBeast Board

Move may raise questions about bias

So much for Jane Harman having no role at Newsweek. In a surprising turn of events, the wife of the late Sidney Harman, who died April 12 at age 92, will succeed her husband on the board of directors of the Newsweek Daily Beast Co.

The choice of Jane Harman immediately raises questions about what level of influence the former political figure will have, or seek to have, at the magazine, and just how Tina Brown, its strong-willed editor, feels about it.

In an interview last summer, the entrepreneur-turned-magazine-publisher said his wife would have nothing to do with Newsweek. Jane Harman was a veteran California congresswoman until resigning recently to become president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In an interview last summer, her husband insisted she would have no part at the magazine.

Upon his death, speculation about a board successor turned to Harman’s children, especially Daniel Harman, the one among them who was involved in Newsweek. (Daniel, an MBA student, started as an intern there last summer, after his father bought the struggling newsweekly from The Washington Post Co.)

“As a director, I will work to support the best of journalism—in print, digital, and mobile,” Jane Harman said in a statement. “Our family will remain actively engaged and totally committed to the success of this enterprise.”

Her appointment, announced today, certainly sets the stage for some interesting board meetings.