October 18, 2012

Big Changes at Newsweek

 

Newsweek is ending its print edition and transitioning to an all-digital format by the end of 2012, editor Tina Brown announced on Thursday.

The magazine has been in print since 1933. That will end after its Dec. 31 issue. The shuttering of the print edition will inevitably seen as a harbinger of things to come for the wider industry.

The all-digital tablet edition will be called Newsweek Global. it will launch in early 2013 and require a paid subscription.

In a note, Brown wrote that the economics of print had ceased to make sense for the magazine, which merged with her Daily Beast website in 2010. At the time, she had written that the website would “quicken the pace of a great magazine’s revival.” She also warned that there will be layoffs coming:

In our judgment, we have reached a tipping point at which we can most efficiently and effectively reach our readers in all-digital format. This was not the case just two years ago. It will increasingly be the case in the years ahead.
[...]

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.

Newsweek is produced by a gifted and tireless team of professionals who have been offering brilliant work consistently throughout a tough period of ownership transition and media disruption. Regrettably we anticipate staff reductions and the streamlining of our editorial and business operations both here in the U.S. and internationally.

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. 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.

Newsweek also published Brown’s memo to staff, in which she said there would be a meeting where people could raise their concerns.

“We realize news of a big change like this will be unsettling,” the memo read in part. “We wish to reassure you the transition is well planned, extremely mindful of the unavoidable impact on our staff and respectful of our readers, advertisers and business partners.”

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