We obviously appreciate the particular advantages of online media, but we still count down the days until the latest of our various print subscriptions arrive in the mailbox. But, sadly, that's a declining option these days (though many Americans profess that view, the numbers suggest their true loyalties lay with the cheapest, fastest read, and that's understandable). Print ad sales and subscriptions have been in a free fall over the last decade, and Newsweek is no exception: While the staple of American media struggled to create a stronger online presence, print subscriptions were cut in half between 2001 and this year. Now, just a couple of years after its merger with online news site The Daily Beast, the weekly magazine has announced it will cease print publication at the end of 2012 with the last issue hitting newsstands on December 31.
Hopefully, Tina Brown (founder of The Daily Beast and the major player in this first-of-its-kind merger) will be able to maintain the brand's identity regardless of the medium. But the future is still very uncertain. Staff reduction is inevitable, and Barry Diller, chairman of Newsweek's parent company IAC, has expressed a not-so-sympathetic attitude about business acquisitions in the past: “Sell it, write it off, go on to the next thing," he once said in a radio interview.
The news just broke this morning, but we've been sensing a change for a while now. Some of the recent covers — zombie Princess Di and white Obama to name a few — have been a bit off-brand and, despite being controversial, haven't produced the viral success that was perhaps intended. And lots of expert analysts have suspected the end of the print edition since IAC acquired Newsweek.
Online news media is a growing field with seemingly endless potential, and its ability to inform and report in real time is an unbeatable plus. We love The Daily Beast and we're excited to see where Newsweek is headed, but this is still very sad news. And it's the kind of news we're scared is going to become more and more common — although our personal pocketbooks will be hardy supporters of print until the very end, if it ever comes. (NYTimes)
Image via The New York Times.