Owner Of Newsweek Sidney Harman Dies
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates has this appreciation.
KAREN GRIGSBY BATES: Sidney Harman made his fortune with the establishment of Harman Kardon, which produced high-fidelity stereo equipment for audiophiles. Before Harman Kardon, records sounded like this.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DREAM (WHEN YOU'RE FEELING BLUE)")
FRANK SINATRA: (Singing) Dream, when you're feeling blue...
GRIGSBY BATES: Played on the cutting-edge technology Harman and his partner Bernard Kardon created, Sinatra sounded like this.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FLY ME TO THE MOON")
SINATRA: (Singing) Fly me to the moon. Let me play among the stars.
GRIGSBY BATES: Jonathan Alter worked at Newsweek for 28 years and says he consulted with Harman before the industrialist purchased the magazine.
JONATHAN ALTER: Well, I understood from the beginning that Sidney Harman was buying Newsweek for the right reasons. He was interested in contributing to the national debate, and he saw it almost as a public trust.
GRIGSBY BATES: Ken Auletta, media critic for The New Yorker, says this was Harman's thinking.
KEN AULETTA: The assumption was that they could merge her Daily Beast, which was owned by Barry Diller's company, with Newsweek, an online publication with a print publication, and maybe one plus one would equal four.
GRIGSBY BATES: For Harman, it was all about seeing things in different ways. His friend and colleague James Ellis, dean of the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, says Harman was distressed that so much of our thinking was so rigid.
JAMES ELLIS: He believed that there was a connection. Life is all about interdisciplinary thought process.
GRIGSBY BATES: A couple of years ago, Harman became a professor at USC and lectured throughout the university from freshman leadership seminars to business school classes. He also founded USC's new Academy of Polymathic Studies. The academy seeks to build connections between disciplines, as Harman explains in a video about the school.
(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)
SIDNEY HARMAN: The world is changing. Everything in the digital universe, everything is connected to everything else.
GRIGSBY BATES: That willingness to embrace the new, Ellis says, made Harman extremely popular on campus.
ELLIS: When I brought Sidney in to talk, and the students were absolutely riveted to what he had to say, and at that time, he was a mere 90. So there was a 73-year gap between the teacher and the student.
GRIGSBY BATES: Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR News.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ANGEL EYES")
SINATRA: (Singing) The fact's uncommonly clear. I got to find who's now the number one. And why my angel eyes...
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