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Newsweek

Newsweek, May 24, 2009
First issue in current format
Editor Jon Meacham (US edition)
Fareed Zakaria (International edition)
Categories Newsmagazine
Frequency Weekly
Circulation 2,720,034 (2008)[1]
First issue February 17, 1933
Company The Washington Post Company
Country  United States
Language English
Website www.newsweek.com
ISSN 0028-9604

Newsweek is an American weekly newsmagazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence. Newsweek is published in four English language editions and 12 global editions written in the language of the circulation region.

Recently, the magazine's owner The Washington Post Company has stated the publication has been losing profit. The company overhauled the magazine in May, 2009, refocusing its content and using higher-quality paper, to target a smaller and more "elite audience" and to identify itself as a "thought leader". To sustain its level of journalism with a reduced guaranteed circulation, Newsweek plans to eventually increase prices.[2][3]

Contents

History

Cover of the first issue of News-Week magazine.

Newsweek magazine was launched in 1933 (but really went into effect in 1935) by a group of U.S. stockholders "which included Ward Cheney, of the Cheney silk family, John Hay Whitney, and Paul Mellon, son of Andrew W. Mellon", according to America's 60 Families by Ferdinand Lundberg. The same book also noted in 1946 that "Paul Mellon's ownership in "Newsweek" apparently represented "the first attempt of the Mellon family to function journalistically on a national scale."

To launch Newsweek the group of original owners invested around $2.5 million. Other large Newsweek stockholders prior to 1946 were a public utilities investment banker named Stanley Childs and a Wall Street corporate lawyer and director of various corporations named Wilton Lloyd-Smith.

Originally News-Week, the magazine was founded by Thomas J.C. Martyn on February 17, 1933. That issue featured seven photographs from the week's news on the cover.[4]

Cover of the January 16, 1939 Newsweek featuring Felix Frankfurter.

In 1937, Newsweek merged with the weekly journal Today, which had been founded in 1932 by future New York Governor and diplomat W. Averell Harriman, and Vincent Astor of the prominent Astor family. As a result of the 1937 Newsweek-Today merger deal, Harriman and Astor provided Newsweek with $600,000 in additional venture capital funds and Vincent Astor became both Newsweek's chairman of the board and its principal stockholder between 1937 and his death in 1959.

In 1937, Malcolm Muir took over as president and editor-in-chief. Muir changed the name to Newsweek, emphasized more interpretative stories, introduced signed columns, and international editions. Over time it has developed a full spectrum of news-magazine material, from breaking stories and analysis to reviews and commentary.

The magazine was purchased by the Washington Post Company in 1961.[5]

A 2004 study by Tim Groseclose and Jeff Milyo asserted that Newsweek, along with a number of other mainstream news outlets, exhibited a "liberal bias." Critics described the study as "riddled with flaws" and highlighted Groseclose and Milyo as former fellows at conservative think tanks.[6][7]

Richard M. Smith has served as Chairman since 1998.

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Circulation and branches

As of 2003, worldwide circulation is more than 4 million, including 2.7 million in the U.S (see below for recent changes in circulation base). It also publishes editions in Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Rioplatense Spanish, Arabic, and Turkish, as well as an English language Newsweek International. The Bulletin (an Australian weekly until 2008) incorporated an international news section from Newsweek. Also Cielos Argentinos, an Aerolíneas Argentinas magazine, incorporates material from Newsweek.

There is also a radio program, Newsweek on Air, jointly produced by Newsweek and the Jones Radio Network (previously with the Associated Press).

Based in New York City, it has 22 bureaus: 9 in the U.S. in New York City, Los Angeles, the Midwest (Chicago and Detroit), Dallas, Miami, Washington, D.C., Boston and San Francisco, as well as overseas in London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Jerusalem, Baghdad, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, South Asia, Cape Town, Mexico City and Buenos Aires (Newsweek Argentina).

Highlights and controversies

Guantánamo Bay allegations

In the May 9, 2005 issue of Newsweek, an article by reporter Michael Isikoff stated that interrogators at Guantanamo Bay "in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet." Detainees had earlier made similar complaints but this was the first time a government source had appeared to confirm the story. The news was reported to be a cause of widespread rioting and massive anti-American protests throughout some parts of the Islamic world (causing at least 15 deaths in Afghanistan[8]). The magazine later revealed that the anonymous source behind the allegation could not confirm that the book-flushing was actually under investigation, and retracted the story under heavy criticism.

Best High Schools in America

Since 1998, Newsweek has periodically published a "Best High Schools in America" list,[9] a ranking of public secondary schools based on the Challenge Index, which measures the ratio of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams taken by students to the number of graduating students that year, regardless of the scores earned by students or the difficulty in graduating.

Schools with average SAT scores above 1300 or average ACT scores above 27 are excluded from the list; these are categorized instead as "Public Elite" High Schools. In 2008, there were 17 Public Elites.[10]

Iraq war planning

Fareed Zakaria, a Newsweek columnist and editor of Newsweek International, attended a secret meeting on November 29, 2001 with a dozen policy makers, Middle East experts and members of influential policy research organizations to produce a report for President George W. Bush and his cabinet outlining a strategy for dealing with Afghanistan and the Middle East in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. The meeting was held at the request of Paul D. Wolfowitz, then the deputy secretary of defense. The unusual presence of journalists, who also included Robert D. Kaplan of The Atlantic Monthly, at such a strategy meeting was revealed in Bob Woodward's 2006 book State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III. Woodward reported in his book that, according to Mr. Kaplan, everyone at the meeting signed confidentiality agreements not to discuss what happened. Mr. Zakaria told The New York Times that he attended the meeting for several hours but did not recall being told that a report for the President would be produced.[11] On October 21, 2006, after verification, the Times published a correction that stated:

An article in Business Day on Oct. 9 about journalists who attended a secret meeting in November 2001 called by Paul D. Wolfowitz, then the deputy secretary of defense, referred incorrectly to the participation of Fareed Zakaria, the editor of Newsweek International and a Newsweek columnist. Mr. Zakaria was not told that the meeting would produce a report for the Bush administration, nor did his name appear on the report.

2008 Elections

In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, the John McCain campaign wrote a lengthy letter to the editor criticizing a cover story in May 2008.[12]

2008-2009 Repositioning

During 2008-2009 Newsweek undertook a dramatic restructuring of its business. Citing difficulties in competing with online news sources to provide unique news in a weekly publication, the magazine repositioned its content towards opinion and commentary beginning with its May 24, 2009 issue. It shrank its subscriber rate base, from 3.1 million to 2.6 million in early 2008 (down 500,000), then to 1.9 million in July 2009 (down 700,000) and will shrink to 1.5 million in January 2010 (down 400K); for a decline of 50% in one year. During this period the magazine also laid off some of its staff. While advertising revenues are down almost 50% compared to the prior year, expenses are also diminishing in a planned strategy that the publishers hope will return Newsweek to profitability.[13]

Sarah Palin cover

Controversial Newsweek cover, November 23, 2009

Sarah Palin, the LA Times, and other commentators have accused Newsweek of sexism for their choice of cover in the November issue discussing Palin's book, Going Rogue: An American Life. "It's sexist as hell," wrote Lisa Richardson for the LA Times.[14] Taylor Marsh of the Huffington Post called it "the worst case of pictorial sexism aimed at political character assassination ever done by a traditional media outlet."[15] David Brody of CBN News stated: "This cover should be insulting to women politicians."[16] The cover came from a photo of Palin used in the August 2009 issue of Runner's World.[17][18][19]

Contributors and reporters

Notable regular contributors to Newsweek include:

  • Michael Isikoff is perhaps the magazine's most famous investigative reporter.

Cultural references

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Pérez-Peña, Richard (January 16, 2009). "The Popular Newsweekly Becomes a Lonely Category". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/17/business/media/17weeklies.html?ref=business. Retrieved 2009-01-17.  
  3. ^ Deveny, Kathleen (May 18, 2009). "Reinventing Newsweek". Newsweek. http://www.newsweek.com/id/195620. Retrieved 2009-05-29.  
  4. ^ Instant History: Review of First Newsweek with Cover Photo
  5. ^ "Washington Post Buys Newsweek. It Acquires 59% of Stock From Astor Foundation for $8,000,000.". The New York Times. March 10, 1961. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0A1FF93F5D1B728DDDA90994DB405B818AF1D3. Retrieved 2008-04-14. "The Washington Post Company bought control of Newsweek magazine yesterday from the Vincent Astor Foundation. The sale ended several weeks of intensive negotiation involving a number of publishing companies."  
  6. ^ "Former fellows at conservative think tanks issued flawed UCLA-led study on media's "liberal bias", Media Matters for America, Dec 21, 2005
  7. ^ Eric Alterman, "Think Again: Rigging the Numbers", Center for American Progress, January 12, 2006
  8. ^ "Karzai condemns anti-US protests". BBC. 14 May 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4547413.stm. Retrieved 2007-12-24.  
  9. ^ The Complete List of the 1,200 Top U.S. High Schools
  10. ^ Newsweek (2008): List of Public Elites
  11. ^ "Secret Iraq Meeting Included Journalists." October 9, 2006 The New York Times.[2]
  12. ^ The O-Team: A Response
  13. ^ "Glimmers of Progress at a Leaner Newsweek" New York Times, Nov 15, 2009
  14. ^ http://opinion.latimes.com/opinionla/2009/11/newsweeks-sexism-and-sarah-palin.html
  15. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/taylor-marsh/what-was-newsweek-thinkin_b_362086.html
  16. ^ http://blogs.cbn.com/thebrodyfile/archive/2009/11/16/newsweek-photo-of-palin-shows-media-bias-and-sexism.aspx
  17. ^ http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/thedishrag/2009/11/sarah-palin-hates-her-newsweek-cover-really-1.html
  18. ^ http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/thegaggle/archive/2009/11/16/payback-time-why-right-wing-men-rush-to-palin-s-defense.aspx
  19. ^ http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/20091117/pl_ynews/ynews_pl984

External links


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