In the Arena

On Newsweek and Meacham

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I’ve met Sidney Harman several times; he’s a delightful man–with a storehouse of poetry rattling around his brain–and, as an inveterate fan of weekly journalism, I can only wish him the best in his efforts to resuscitate our main competitor, known around here as Brand X. As a Newsweek alumnus, I can say it was an honor to work for the extraordinary Katherine Graham back in the day and for her son, Don–who, I think, still owes me some money on a bet we made on who would be the Republican nominee in 1996. The Graham family represents the finest traditions of magazine and newspaper ownership; it is deeply depressing to me that they will no longer own Newsweek.

It’s also sad to see Jon Meacham leaving Newsweek. He was my editor there, through a tumultuous time, and a very fine one–he was young enough to be my son and wise enough to be my father. Jon’s best years as a writer and thinker are still ahead. He writes wonderful books and, doubtless, there will be many more. I wouldn’t be surprised if he someday found his way back into the weekly magazine business, if one still exists–the middle-distance on the news that a weekly provides, when operating at full strength, is an intellectual challenge for those who do it well and a real public service when it is done right. In the meantime, thanks Jon, for all you taught me–and best wishes as you move on.