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Meacham on Newsweek Sale: ‘It’s a Serious Day for Everyone Who Cares About Journalism’

Newsweek editor Jon Meacham does not exactly make for a good Daily Show interview. He talks slowly, he’s not full of one-liners, he doesn’t fight, and he makes references that are esoteric if not opaque. Like this one: “I do not believe that 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.” That’s not a laugh line — but it’s kind of a good one, if stuffy. So last night when Meacham went on The Daily Show to plug his new PBS show Need to Know (an ill-timed visit for PBS considering Newseek was all over the news yesterday for being put on the auction block by its owners and that’s all he talked about with Stewart), there was naturally a lot of editing done to get the interview to work for the actual episode. But Comedy Central put the interview in its entirety on their website, and below you can see half of it, in which Meacham slowly but eloquently talks about the challenges facing Newsweek and the industry. “It’s a serious day for everybody, not to be grandiose about it, but everybody who cares about journalism that is enterprise journalism,” he intones. “We have to decide, are we ready to get what we pay for? If you’re not going to pay for news, you’re going to get a different kind of news. Full stop.”

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(Our favorite part is when, after Meacham rattles off a list of great Newsweek scoops, Stewart cracks: “You guys reported all this? Yeah, I haven’t looked at Newsweek in a while.” Poor Meacham sighs: “Hence my bad day.”)

Earlier: Can Jon Meacham Save Newsweek Now?

Meacham on Newsweek Sale: ‘It’s a Serious Day for Everyone Who Cares About Journalism’