Newsweek, Washington Jewish Week in new hands

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Newsweek was sold to a Jewish businessman and philanthropist, while a corporation comprised of Jews active in the area community has purchased the Washington Jewish Week.

Sidney Harman, 91, will buy Newsweek from the Washington Post Company, it was announced Monday. Bidding on the weekly magazine had lasted two months.

Harman paid $1 and will accept Newsweek’s liabilities of approximately $71 million.

Washington Post Chairman Donald Graham reportedly chose Harman, the founder of audio equipment company Harman Industries and husband of U.S. Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), among several bidders because he is expected to leave Newsweek’s essential character unchanged and retain the highest number of staff members.

At the Washington Jewish Week, the WJW Group, LLC, owned by David Butler, Allan Fox, Michael Gelman, Stuart Kurlander and Louis Mayberg, took over Monday.

Craig Burke, previous publisher of the Washington Jewish Week, was hired as chief operating officer.

HarborPoint Media sold the paper for unstated reasons, according to editor Debra Rubin. The company owns three community newspapers in Florida.

Butler and Gelman are past presidents of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. Gelman is chair of the executive committee of the Jewish Federations of North America. His wife is president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington; Kurlander is vice president in charge of campaigns. 

The new group will try to improve the paper and wants it to “be a newspaper, not a newsletter,” Rubin said. “We’re focused on doing our job the best we can.”
 

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