Newsweek magazine can claim the publishing catch of the year, as it has secured the services of President Barack Obama to write a front page essay on the unfolding tragedy in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.The Jan. 25th issue of the news magazine will hit newsstands Monday and should provide a huge boost to the struggling publication, which lost $25 million in the first half of 2009.

The magazine scored the coup when its editor, Jon Meacham, contacted Obama Senior Advisor David Axelrod to see if the president was interested in weighing in on the Haitian situation, according to published reports.

Newsweek has changed its editorial strategy in recent months, moving from news reporting to political commentary. Getting President Obama to author an essay represents an amazing achievement for Newsweek.

No doubt the president will get his share of critics for writing the piece. They will say that with the ongoing health care debate, lagging economy and looming battles over immigration reform, the president has better things to do with his time than write an essay for Newsweek.

For my money, however, writing the piece is the right call. The disjointed, disorganized rescue effort in the Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina teaches us that a strong guiding voice at the early stages of a disaster is needed to help galvanize public and private help efforts.

I, for one, look forward to reading what President Obama has to say.


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