TIME FOR TWEAKS: As Newsweek continues to grapple with big questions — such as, who in the world will run their magazine? — Time is battling a set of, well, slightly smaller issues, like: What’s the best way to give its back pages a makeover? The weekly magazine is considering a plan to retool how its Arts section is laid out. “Time editors are exploring subtle design changes to the back of the magazine. We are always looking at ways to evolve — we recently added The Politics Page and Lab Report to the Briefing section — and this is part of that ongoing process,” said a spokeswoman. The magazine was last given a full redesign in 2007.
— John Koblin
This story first appeared in the October 22, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
OPEN CASTING: The Newsweek Tumblr had a bit of a viral hit (among the insular world of media folk at least) on its hands Thursday with a video soliciting candidates for the magazine’s open position at editor. “Tina Brown is out, but we’re still looking for someone with the brilliant mind, the heroic fortitude [and] the incredible capacity for alcohol that is required to run Newsweek,” a tongue-in-cheek voice- over said in a YouTube clip created by producer K. Ryan Jones. The video goes on to advise applicants to proffer their résumés and bribes to Newsweek headquarters on Hudson Street.
“The spirit of the Tumblr has always been to poke fun at ourselves, and to engage with an audience that Newsweek may not normally attract,” senior writer Jessica Bennett told WWD. “It’s like the cooler, less straight-laced version of ourselves.”
Bennett helps head up the group effort behind the Tumblr, which has gained a solid following by offering a much more amused take on the world than its older digital sibling, newsweek.com. It’s also been an outlet for some staff steam.
“If you believe what you read, you get the impression we’re this kind of beat-down, beleaguered shell of a magazine, with all the real talent running to the hills,” Bennett said. “The truth is that there are plenty of creative, smart people left here, and we do still know how to put out a good product. We saw this as our own little way of poking back.”
It was unclear as of Thursday afternoon whether new owner Sidney Harman is among the blog’s followers. “No word from Dr. Harman yet, but we would hope he’d see it all in good humor,” Bennett said.
— Matthew Lynch