The End of Newsweek as We Know It

Growing up in the Washington DC area meant certain things: the Washington Post as your local newspaper; knowing the subsidiaries of the Washington Post Company; and if you went to my high school, then the threat of friends leaving for State/”State” department tours.  Newsweek- a one-time member of the Washington Post family, as you may have heard, is killing its print edition and going all-digital in 2013.

Tina Brown’s statement from thedailybeast.com

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….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.

It’s no surprise that print editions are taking a hit with their circulation numbers. According to the New York Times,

In 2001, Newsweek had a total paid circulation of 3,158,480, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation. But as of June of this year, circulation had fallen by more than half, to 1,527,157.

Digital Industry experts, however, disagree if going all digital will save the 80-year-old magazine from financial dire straits.  According to Digiday,

“The Web is fragmented and niche and from an advertiser’s viewpoint, we want to match to consumers that are highly focused,” said Bryan Wiener, CEO of 360i. Faced with declining print ad revenues, Newsweek didn’t have another way out. But eliminating the magazine will not necessarily solve the financial issues, according to Wiener.

Editor Tina Brown remains optimistic,

It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not. We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it. We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism—that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.

It’s not goodbye – but a magazine that’s been around 80 years has to change if it’s going to survive. The last print edition will be out in December 2012, another sign that our media world is in constant transition.

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