Newsweek Shutting Down Print Operations

Author: Abe
December 11, 2012

After 80 years on the newsstands, the venerable Newsweek is discontinuing its print version and making the shift to online-only in 2013. The final print edition will hit the stands on December 31, 2012.

First published in February 1933, Newsweek has been the second-largest news weekly magazine in the United States for most of its history, second only to Time in circulation and advertising. However, rising print costs and plummeting print revenue have taken their toll on the magazine, and attempts to shift Newsweek’s focus and gain new readers have simply not panned out.

Muslim Rage Newsweek Magazine Cover

The controversial 'Muslim Rage' Newsweek magazine cover, which was mocked online.

Tina Brown, who became the editor-in-chief of Newsweek in 2010 (when the magazine was sold to Sidney Harman and merged with The Daily Beast website), made the announcement on October 18,2012. She explained that poor print advertising revenues, coupled with the growing popularity of the online format, had led to this decision.

“Exiting print is an extremely difficult moment for all of us who love the romance of print and the unique weekly camaraderie of those hectic hours before the close on Friday night,” Brown said in her statement. “But as we head for the 80th anniversary of Newsweek next year, we must sustain the journalism that gives the magazine its purpose–and embrace the all-digital future.”

The online publication, Newsweek Global, will be more than a simple port of the magazine’s existing format to digital. As tablets and e-readers have become more ubiquitous, publishers have jumped at the opportunity to take full advantage of the new media. Digital magazines carry the same production values as their print counterparts, with the added bonus of embedded videos, sound bytes, hyperlinks, and searchable content.

So does this mean print magazines are on their way out, or are they simply making the transition to luxury item? In an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Time’s managing editor Richard Stengel explained there might still be value in having a print version of a magazine:

“That still is the single most expensive thing, to chop down trees, to put ink on paper, put it on a truck and deliver it to your house. But I do think that that becomes a premium product.”

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