Newsweek Sold Again, Possibly for More than a Dollar


“Newsweek sold again, this time to digital news company IBT Media,” reports the L.A. Times, itself on the market:

Newsweek, the former weekly news magazine that now publishes online only, is being sold to digital news company IBT Media.

Terms of the deal, announced late Saturday, were not disclosed.

It’s the latest shakeup over at Newsweek. In 2010, longtime owner the Washington Post Co. sold the newsweekly to stereo industry magnate Sidney Harman. A few months later, Harman merged Newsweek with the Daily Beast, an online website owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, creating the Newsweek Daily Beast Co.

But Barry Diller, the billionaire chairman of IAC, has been vocal about his unhappiness with the Newsweek brand.

“I wish I hadn’t bought Newsweek,” Diller said in an interview with Bloomberg in April. “It was a mistake.”

Newsweek, which was fast losing print readers, published its final print edition in December. These days it occupies its own section on the Daily Beast’s website.

But IBT — which will acquire the Newsweek brand and the operations of the online publication, not including the Daily Beast — said Newsweek would return to the URL in the coming weeks.


I was curious as to who would get custody of Newsweek’s 80 years worth of archives — but, what archives? Apparently, unlike Time, from whom Newsweek cloned itself in 1933, and which memorably put all of its archives online nearly a decade ago, most of Newsweek’s digital archives remain unavailable on the Internet:

“I can’t get an article I wrote in Newsweek in 1985. There’s something wrong with that,” he said in an interview with TheWrap to mark the publication of his new book “The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies.”

Alter said that Newsweek had sold the archive, but its ownership was currently unclear.

Update: IAC chief Diller wrote TheWrap that this was not the case. “We own the archives, always have,” he wrote in an email on Monday. “They’re not currently digitized, but available.”

When asked where they were available Diller said they were accessible “to Newsweek/Daily Beast employees.”

A spokeswoman for IAC clarified: “We haven’t invested in putting everything online yet. Spending the money to put it online hasn’t been our first priority.”

Diller merged Newsweek with The Daily Beast in 2010, but shut the weekly print edition at the end of last year after major, ongoing financial losses. He has recently said that he would like to sell Newsweek, but few believe that he will readily find a buyer. The magazine was in print from 1933 to the end of 2012.


Given how deeply the magazine went off the tracks beginning with punting on the Lewinsky scandal in 1998, then with its infamous “Koran in the Can” article and subsequent retraction in 2005, the “We Are All Socialists Now” cover of January 2009, “The First Gay President” cover of last year, and its joke offloading by the Washington Post in 2010 for a dollar, along with the increasingly Jurassic notion of a weekly news magazine, is Newsweek a brand that’s salvageable in the Internet era?

But then, is any component of old media salvageable in the Internet era? Speaking of Newsweek’s former bosses, Mark Steyn spots your correction of the day at the Washington Post:

Correction: This post originally stated that Obama said “traditional journalism is dead” in his interview with Amazon. That was incorrect.

Regarding the magazine that inspired Newsweek in the early 1930s, a former Time magazine staffer writes in the Atlantic (yet another ancient publication that’s now a shell of its former self), “It’s hard to image that there will be much left of the [Time magazine] brand 36 months from now.” Add up all of the recent old media carnage, and I’d I’d say that the above misquote is probably the most accurate statement Mr. Obama never said.


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