Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Newsweek sold to audio magnate Harman

Washington: Well-known international Newsweek magazine, owned by The Washington Post Co., has been sold to 91-year-old audio magnate Sidney Harman, the founder of audio equipment maker Harman International Industries Inc.
The Washington Post Company announced today that it was selling Newsweek to Harman, ending nearly half-century ownership by the company even as editor Jon Meacham announced his departure.
“Newsweek is a national treasure. I am enormously pleased to be succeeding The Washington Post Company and the Graham family, and look forward to this great journalistic, business and technological challenge,” Harman was quoted as saying in The Post news release.
Newsweek announced that Meacham, the magazine’s editor for the past four years, is stepping down.
“It has been a privilege beyond measure to have worked for Newsweek and for The Washington Post Company for the past 15 years. I will always be grateful for the opportunity the magazine gave me to serve alongside all of you,” Meacham, the magazine’s top editor since 2006, told his staff in an e-mail.
“For half a century, the Graham family created and sustained a culture in which we were able to do good, important work, and I know Newsweek will continue to do so,” Meacham quoted in the New York Times said.
Harman started a business selling FM radios in the 1950s and built it into one of the largest audio equipment companies in the world.
Newsweek, which was acquired by The Post Co. in 1961, has been struggling to find a profitable niche amid poor economic conditions and a flood of online competition.
Declines in circulation and advertising led to a nearly USD 30 million loss in 2009, and Newsweek expects to lose money again this year, a media report said.
Harman, who doesn’t envision any radical overhaul of the magazine, has vowed to retain most of about 350 staff members.
Decline in print media has led to sale or shutdown of number of magazines and newspapers in the US amid the worst economic meltdown in generations. Bloomberg LP bought BusinessWeek last year for just a few million dollars.
“In seeking a buyer for Newsweek, we wanted someone who feels as strongly as we do about the importance of quality journalism,” Post Co. CEO Donald Graham said. “We found that person in Sidney Harman.”

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