Jon Meacham is the Editor of Newsweek magazine. Since starting there as a writer in 1995, he has also served as the national affairs editor and managing editor. He now supervises and occasionally contributes to Newsweek’s coverage of politics, international affairs, and breaking news. Meacham is the author of two New York Times bestsellers: American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation (2006), and Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship (2003), which won the 2005 Emery Reves Award and the William H. Colby Military Writers Symposium’s Book of the Year Award. His latest book, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, was published by Random House on November 11, 2008.
Meacham has written for The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, and The Washington Post Book World. He is also a contributing editor for The Washington Monthly. In 2001, he edited Voices in Our Blood: America’s Best on the Civil Rights Movement (Random House), a collection of distinguished nonfiction about the mid-century struggle against Jim Crow. Born in Chattanooga in 1969, Meacham graduated from The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, with a degree summa cum laude in English Literature. He is also a member of the Board of Regents of The University of the South, the Vestry of Trinity Church Wall Street, the Leadership Council of the Harvard Divinity School and the Council on Foreign Relations. He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University in 2005 and also holds three honorary doctorates. He and his wife live in New York City with their two children.
Question: Are conglomerates a threat?
Jon Meacham: Leaving aside Mr. Murdoch, I think that actually flies in the face of what’s happening. You can’t have a proliferating media universe where everyone can have their own publication, and then worry too much about concentrated power. Is it a threat? Certainly. Everything’s a threat; but my sense – and I work for, I guess, a media conglomerate – I’ve never had a conversation with our owners about we should do this or not do that. I think that most conspiracy theories are wrong for a reason. And I stay up at night about how do we bring in a new generation of people who would be interested in the kind of analysis and news we offer as opposed to worrying about the top down. I’m more worried about the bottom up right now.
Recorded on: 7/3/07