I was deeply saddened by the news that Newsweek, one of the most internationally recognized magazine brands in the world, will cease publishing its print edition after nearly 80 years. The weekly current affairs magazine’s final edition will hit newsstands on December 31. The decision to go all-digital underscores the problems faced by newsweeklies, as more consumers favor tablets and mobile devices over print in an increasingly commoditized, 24-hour news cycle.
Founded in 1933 by Thomas J C Martyn, a former foreign editor at Time, Newsweek’s pages have hosted some of journalism’s biggest names: Jonathan Alter and Anna Quindlen. In the early ’90s, one of its reporters, Michael Isikoff, was the first to learn about allegations of a sexual relationship between then-President Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky and his stories played a major role in the saga that almost brought down Clinton.
Newsweek isn’t the first current events magazine to go all-digital – U.S. News & World Report made the move in 2010. And the demise of Newsweek’s print product calls into question the plans of its competitor Time magazine.
But Time Managing Editor Rick Stengel doesn’t expect to follow suit. Stengel said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show that print was the “centerpiece” of the Time brand.
“We have certainly moved past seeing them as a single competitor,” said Stengel of Newsweek. “Our competitor is everybody. We have done very well and we will continue to do very well.”
The quick technology adoption of the tablet computer and smart phones may have changed the distribution of news and magazines to Internet/Mobile.
In order to make a profit, companies may resort to cost-cutting and may be opting for digital, but I am sure it’s not the end of print journalism. Digital publication can’t be a threat. It doesn’t have the power to destroy man’s innate passion and people’s habit of reading news in print.
Print journalism is here to stay.