Newsweek: And Then There Were Four

In your sweltering (but not sizzling) Wednesday media column: four bidders left for Newsweek, rumors of a Hachette- Hearst joint venture, Time magazine flirts with a paywall, and city hall reporters now work in a trailer, where they belong.

  • Newsweek bidding update! Keith Kelly reports that four bidders remain: rich old stereo magnate Sidney Harman, former Daily News publisher Fred Drasner and his partners, TV Guide owner OpenGate Capital, and "distressed properties" specialist Avenue Capital. We reckon that the preceding list is also ordered from the most desirable buyer to Newsweek staffers (Harman, who would reportedly keep on editor Jon Meacham and run the mag altruistically) to least desirable (no "distressed properties" specialist is a friend to magazine staffers). (Notwithstanding the true most desirable bidder, The Historical Jesus.)

  • Keith Kelly also reports that Lagardere, the company that owns Hachette Filipacchi and Elle magazine, is in talks with Hearst for some sort of joint venture, which would mark the sort of initial coup of former Conde exec David Carey, who recently moved to Hearst. You know, if no magazines are coming into or going out of existence, few people really care.

  • Time magazine is flirting with an online pay wall. They seem to be in an experimental stage now. But with Newsweek in disarray, it wouldn't be that bad of a time for Time to throw up the paywall for real, and see just how few people are willing to pay for their content.

  • Hard times for the impoverished press corpsmen of NY City Hall! Reporters are being moved to a trailer while the majestic press room undergoes a $106 million renovation. This, even though Michael Bloomberg is rich. Why doesn't Mayor Mike build a house for each and every journalist, right on the City Hall lawn?