Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Newsweek seeks new editor- no takers so far

Hat tip to Keith J. Kelly, The New York Post columnist who writes Media Ink

Pressure is mounting to find a new editor-in-chief of Newsweek, as the staff defections continue in the wake of the sale two weeks ago to stereo mogul Sidney Harman.

Jon Meacham, the current editor-in-chief, is telling staffers he hopes to pack it in by Labor Day.

And the short list of candidates to replace him is growing shorter by the day.

The most logical inside candidate, Fareed Zakaria, is said to have told Harman he is not interested in the job. Speculation is rampant that he may be the next big name to jump ship.

Walter Isaacson, current CEO of the Aspen Institute think tank, a former editor of Time and one-time head of CNN, is also showing no interest, despite his friendship with Harman, an Aspen Institute board member.

"I've already run a weekly magazine," Isaacson said. "I have no interest in it."

Some insiders have been actively pushing for Tina Brown, currently head of The Daily Beast Web site.

It's a long shot, but Newsweek CEO Tom Ascheim, who is staying on board as president under Harman, is said to be listening.

Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas, book author and prolific writer of dozens of cover stories during his 24 years at the magazine, yesterday became the latest staffer to defect in what is becoming a serious brain drain.

Thomas, author most recently of "The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898," from Little, Brown earlier this year, is going to teach at Princeton and work on writing his next book for Little, a bio of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Said one insider of Brown: "She's the best magazine editor out there without a magazine and she'd bring a lot of attention to Newsweek."

Barry Diller, boss of IAC, which is bankrolling Brown and The Daily Beast, is on the board of the Washington Post Co., so he would be familiar with the pluses and minuses of the magazine. Wash Post said that in the first half of 2010 the magazine lost $8.5 million.

Diller could not be reached for comment.

And Brown, who has edited Tatler, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and the late Talk magazine, said she's not interested. "I very much admire Sidney Harman's willingness to take on a great news magazine that needs reinvention," she said. "But I've never been happier than in my partnership with Barry Diller creating The Daily Beast."

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