Weisberg Chimes In on “Foreign Policy” Purchase

Earlier on FishbowlDC: “So That’s What Susan Glasser Will Do Next…”

Slate Group Editor-in-Chief Jacob Weisberg sent out an email to Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive staffers this morning, obtained by FishbowlDC, in which he elaborates on the purchase of Foreign Policy magazine.

Weisberg admits that “This might seem an odd fit because of our emphasis on web-only publication. But FP is an excellent match in terms of subject matter, audience, and overall sensibility.”

Weisberg also elaborates on Susan Glasser’s job description.

After the jump…

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Jacob Weisberg
    To: [REDACTED]
    Sent: Tue Sep 30 09:41:16 2008
    Subject: Washington Post acquires Foreign Policy Magazine

    I’m pleased to share with you all the good news that the Washington Post Company has purchased Foreign Policy magazine from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The sale has now closed and was annonced late yesterday.

    Foreign Policy is a fantastic addition to the Post’s portfolio of print and web publications. Under the long-time editorial direction of Moises Naim, it has become not only the liveliest and best-read magazine on global affairs, but one of the best magazines of any kind published in the United States. Among its many prizes and citations, FP won the 2007 National Magazine Award for General Excellence (100,000-250,000). As a longtime reader, I’ve long admired its brilliant editing, superb design, and consistently provocative articles and features.

    Don Graham, Ann McDaniel, John Alderman, and I have decided to include FP in The Slate Group. This might seem an odd fit because of our emphasis on web-only publication. But FP is an excellent match in terms of subject matter, audience, and overall sensibility. As our other publications do, it aims to capture the “smart” end of the market, and counts among its readers the some of most influential people in government, business, and intellectual life around the world. Basically, we like FP so much that we decided to make an exception for it.

    FP is now a bi-monthly, and we see real opportunity in developing its traditional business in print. We also see a great prospect in expanding FP’s web presence. Susan Glasser, who many of you know from her days as a Slate-friendly editor of the Post’s Outlook section, will join FP as Executive Editor. A central part of Susan’s role will be leading a major re-launch of the magazine’s web site, a project on the order of the launch of The Root or The Big Money, in early 2009. The site has plenty of terrific material now — including a brilliantly done morning brief and an excellent group blog by the editors. But has suffered from under-investment in technology, design, and content. We see the re-launched Foreignpolicy.com becoming a leading hub for people interested in global affairs.

    FP has been run on a non-profit basis until now, and John and I see the business as a whole, like Slate’s when the Post bought it, as a diamond in the rough. Moises and his team bring strong assets in terms of their conference business, connections to the advocacy community, and their large international presence — FP has eight foreign language editions in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East These are areas where our web-only publications haven’t done much, and I think we’ll benefit immensely from FP’s experience and relationships.

    I’m excited to welcome FP’s staff of 22 to our group. The editorial side will report to me via Moises and the business side will report to John. For many years, Moises has functioned as FP’s Publisher as well as its Editor. He is now hoping to give up many of his business-side responsibilities, so we are in the market for a full-time Publisher with a strong background in advertising sales. Please send any recommendations to us.

    A number of people have been working virtually full-time on this transaction. On our side of the deal, these include Susan Glasser, Thao Tran in Corporate, Nicole Maddrey in the Post General Counsel’s Office, Brendan Monaghan from WPNI Business Development, and WPNI’s General Counsel, Sherrese Smith. FP’s Associate Publisher Lynn Newhouse has been a terrific help.

    As we turn from transaction to transition, we’ll be looking for opportunities for FP’s staff to meet their new colleagues, and vice-versa. I think you’ll find that FP bring us an absolutely first-rate crew of editors, writers and thinkers. I’m looking forward to our learning from them, and to them learning from us.

    We welcome your questions and concerns, as well as your good ideas about how we can work together most effectively. Please direct any of the above to John and to me.