Agree With Meacham’s Plan to Reinvent Newsweek?

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As fate would have it, Jon Meacham was scheduled to promote his new PBS show (which premieres tonight) on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show the same day the Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of Newsweek found out his day job was on the line.

Instead of cancelling or using the occasion to play the “oh, woe is me” card, Meacham proceeded with the taping on Wednesday to outline his vision for rescuing the financially strapped media brand in the wake of the Washington Post‘s decision to sell the magazine and its assets.

He seized the opportunity to evangelize about Newsweek’s importance as an important brand for analysis and original reporting – despite its faltering financials – and to suggest that the brand flip its business model.[more]

Meacham’s idea: put digital first, and make the print magazine become the best of what ran online, on the iPad and other digital platforms.

“For 77 years, the emphasis has been on the print. It’s probably time to flip that,” he told Stewart. “I do not believe Newsweek is the only ‘catcher in the rye’ between democracy and ignorance, but I think we’re one of them, and I don’t think there are that many on the edge of that cliff.”

As the audience applauded, Meacham continued: “We have to decide, are we ready to get what we’re willing to pay for? And if you’re not gonna pay for news, then you’re going to get a different kind of news.”

Seth Godin blogged his suggestion: that micro magazines are the future. “The problem is that they (Newsweek, Time and other weekly magazines) are both slow and general. The world, on the other hand, is fast and specific.”

Meacham, meanwhile, is showing more media savvy: his Daily Show appearance is featured on Newsweek‘s website to solicit readers’ feedback on how Meacham and Co. can save not just their jobs, but their brand.

Is Meacham kidding himself by clinging to any vestige of print or weekly analysis? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


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