SAD – AT 8:37 A.M. ET: My first outgoing e-mail this morning was sent to a close friend, whose late father had been a renowned correspondent for Newsweek. The news is sad:
We are announcing this morning an important development at Newsweek and The Daily Beast. Newsweek will transition to an all-digital format in early 2013. As part of this transition, the last print edition in the United States will be our Dec. 31 issue.
Meanwhile, Newsweek will expand its rapidly growing tablet and online presence, as well as its successful global partnerships and events business.
Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context. Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.
Four years ago we launched The Daily Beast. Two years later, we merged our business with the iconic Newsweek magazine—which The Washington Post Company had sold to Dr. Sidney Harman. Since the merger, both The Daily Beast and Newsweek have continued to post and publish distinctive journalism and have demonstrated explosive online growth in the process. The Daily Beast now attracts more than 15 million unique visitors a month, a 70 percent increase in the past year alone—a healthy portion of this traffic generated each week by Newsweek’s strong original journalism.
COMMENT: I guess it was inevitable. There is something special about holding a print magazine in your hands. It's like holding the record jacket of a vinyl LP – the color, the artwork, the physical presence. A bit different from holding that little plastic CD case, with a little bitty piece of printed cardboard stuck inside.
I don't think, though, that Newsweek's print demise can be attributed solely to the digital age. I used to subscribe. Indeed, it was the only newsmagazine to which I did subscribe. But, after 40 years, I canceled my subscription, increasingly annoyed by the liberal bias that had crept into the magazine's news columns. Newsweek had simply become the same old post-sixties journalism story. At one time it had been distinguished from TIME by kind of journalistic independence. As that faded, so did my interest in the magazine. I think many others felt the same way.
We're left with TIME. Does anyone care?
October 18, 2012