AP Story on Demise of Newsweek Print Edition Skips Crucial Role Played by Jon Meacham
The Associated Press published an article on the reasons for the demise of the print of edition of Newsweek but skipped any mention of the former editor of that magazine, Jon Meacham, who was instumental in ensuring its failure. It's the equivalent of publishing an article on the reasons why the Titanic sunk in which the word "iceberg" does not appear.
What Meacham did to destroy Newsweek was so absurd that he really deserves a plaque in the Bad Business Decisions Hall of Fame. Am I exaggerating? Here is Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post explaining the business "genius" of Jon Meacham in May 2009:
Jon Meacham admits it is hard to explain, even to his own people, why chopping Newsweek's circulation in half is a good thing.
"It's hugely counterintuitive," the magazine's editor says. "The staff doesn't understand it."
Yes, only Jon Meacham had the vision to see that such a ridiculous plan would work...except it didn't as any person with even the slightest bit of common sense could have told him. Here is more of Meacham delivering his shtick on "practical" economics:
"If we can't convince a million and a half people we're worth less than a dollar a week, the market will have spoken," Meacham says. The newsstand price will also jump from $4.95 to $5.95, a buck more than Time.
Having come up with a business plan guaranteed to run Newsweek into the ground, Meacham also proposed a new inappropriate design:
The new layout, with larger photographs, splits each issue into four parts: Scope (News, Scoops and the Globe at a Glance); Features; The Take (What We Think About the World); and The Culture. Meacham, an admirer of the Economist, is fashioning a serious magazine for what he calls his base, with a heavy emphasis on politics and public policy.
A year later NewsMax put in a bid to purchase Newsweek but the offer was declined to prevent liberal heads from exploding. Shortly after turning down the NewsMax offer, Newsweek was sold for a mere buck.
And now the Newsweek print edition is no more but NewsMax continues in print. Oh, and Jon Meacham continues on as executive vice president of Random House. No news yet if that organization is on life support but perhaps they can avoid that fate if they ignore any business suggestions provided by Dr. Meacham.