Rick Stengel is the Last Man Standing, For Now

0830stengel Rick Stengel is the Last Man Standing, For NowTime Magazine is bloody but unbowed. Howard Kurtz shows Time editor Rick Stengel wearing an arm sling after shoulder surgery in his column this week. “[H]e’s the last man standing,” writes Mr. Kurtz. 

When the Newsweek sale was announced in the spring, Mr. Stengel told The York Times that his magazine was “very profitable last year, and we will be even more profitable this year.”

“I’ve never taken any satisfaction in their downward spiral, but obviously it does create opportunities for us,” Mr. Stengel told Mr. Kurtz.

Mr. Stengel has made cuts to his staff and reined in unpaid circulation in the last few years and, Mr. Kurtz reports, Time is on track to bring in more than $50 million in profit this year (part of this is coming from a growing events business, including a conference with Bill Clinton at this year’s World Cup in South Africa). With new acquisitons like Fareed Zakaria, Mr. Stengel’s magazine will only get stronger.

Meanwhile “institution builder” Sidney Harman told the Journal last week that he would be happy if Newsweek were breaking even in three years. He’ll be 95.

“We’ve become a category of one,” Mr. Stengel told Mr. Kurtz. But is any magazine ever in a category of one? And does any editor think that not having competition will be good for his or her magazine? There are other small, hungry newsweeklies out there: The Week, for example, which has been growing at a fast clip and pioneered ad-sales techniques that have been adopted by Time.

Read: ‘Time 100’ Gala Honors Influencers, Gathers Celebrities

Article continues below
More from Politics
STAR OF DAVID OR 'PLAIN STAR'?   If you thought "CP Time" was impolitic, on July 2 Donald Trump posted a picture on Twitter of a Star of David on top of a pile of cash next to Hillary Clinton's face. You'd think after the aforementioned crime stats incident (or after engaging a user called "@WhiteGenocideTM," or blasting out a quote from Benito Mussolini, or...) Trump would have learned to wait a full 15 seconds before hitting the "Tweet" button. But not only was the gaffe itself bad, the attempts at damage control made the BP oil spill response look a virtuoso performance.  About two hours after the image went up on Trump's account, somebody took it down and replaced it with a similar picture that swapped the hexagram with a circle (bearing the same legend "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!"!). Believe it or not, it actually got worse from there. As reports arose that the first image had originated on a white supremacist message board, Trump insisted that the shape was a "sheriff's star," or "plain star," not a Star of David. And he continued to sulk about the coverage online and in public for days afterward, even when the media was clearly ready to move on. This refusal to just let some bad press go would haunt him later on.
Donald Trump More Or Less Says He’ll Keep On Tweeting as President