Harman’s Hopes for Newsweek

Newsweek has posted a video of their new owner Sidney Harman’s speech to the staff on Monday. The complete video is available here. Some highlights:

-The obligatory speech-opening joke:
“This microphone is the only thing I intend to cut down to size.”

-The historic analogue:
What made Einstein so remarkable was not his scientific genius but “his ability to question the orthodoxy of the day” and to “move beyond what he knew to be the dogma, that stunning ability to contemplate what everybody accepted as observed reality, and to re-jigger the relationships between the elements of that observed reality. That’s the stuff that fascinates clowns like me. How the heck does it happen?”

-The philosophical pep talk:
“Our job is to contemplate the universe, and to reduce that complicated, frequently frightening arrangement, to a sublime expression, to make sense of it all, to connect the dots. That’s what this publication does, and I think, contrary to much current sport, does it extraordinarily well.”

-The reassurance:
“I have no thought of investing a great deal of money so that I can make a great deal of money. I would be delighted, over a period of some years, to see Newsweek flourish, and getting by on its own generated fuel. Break even is a serious accomplishment, especially in the world of journalism.”

-The optimist’s long view:
“Critics…have, in the tradition of Mark Twain, pronounced the death of print media prematurely. I believe that there is a new equilibrium developing, and that, if I am proved to have been wise, with good timing, it hinges to this equilibrium among mobile, print and digital. This is very close, in my conviction, to a significant inflection point in the history of journalism.”

-The understatement:
“It is not to suggest that print journalism as we have known it is going to be unchanged. [But] what the heck kind of entrepreneur is it who knows when to get on board when everything is going superbly?”

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner