Newsweek Going All Digital

In the US, we’ve had a vibrant press for hundreds of years. While there aren’t as many newspapers or magazines as there used to be, people still have a wide variety of options about what they want to read and where they get their news from. Add to that the abundance of blogs and online newspapers that blanket the internet, and we have far more choices than we have ever had.

But there has been a looming problem for the world of physical press. I know people in the newspaper industry who often remark that they work in a dead industry, and that it’s only a matter of time before newspapers are gone. I have heard the same from journalists and reporters as well. But it just never seemed very real. There are still newspapers and magazines all over, but news is breaking today that one of the most well-known news magazines will never be the same.

Say Hello to the Digital-Only World

Mark Sweney at The Guardian is reporting that “Newsweek is to axe its print edition after 80 years.” At the beginning of the new year, they’re going to make the move to digital-only. Newsweek was founded in early 1933 and has been through a turbulent period of US history which it reported on diligently. They’ve gone through some changes recently, like merging with The Daily Beast, but this is a big development in the press and news magazine world.

The Daily Beast has posted an article detailing the move to the digital-only world of journalism. In it, Tina Brown, the editor-in-chief of The Newsweek Daily Beast explains the reasoning behind the move. She writes, “39 percent of Americans … get their news from an online source.” Brown and those at The Daily Beast believe they have “reached a tipping point at which we can most efficiently and effectively reach our readers” by moving to a digital-only platform.

I think they’ve made the right decision. As smartphones and tablets become more affordable, easier to use, and more advanced, more and more people are going to use them. This means ads and other revenue sources will increasingly come from online, not the print market. It’s a move of survival, but it’s also a move that shows forward-thinking.

Besides, who knows what technology we’ll be using 10, or even 5, years from now. We’re reaching a point in development where technological achievements will start to become exponential instead of linear. While I’m sad to hear that the print version of Newsweek will no longer exist, it’s futile to stand in the way of technology. It marches forward without regard for our feelings.

What’s Next for Newsweek?

According to Brown, Newsweek is becoming Newsweek Global, and it will be “a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience” who is focused on world events and understanding them in a more informed manner. Sounds to me like The Daily Beast understands the way the world is headed. The company is taking steps now instead of later, so it will in a position to be successful.

Businesses Take Heed

Whether you’re a small, medium, or large business, Newsweek’s move to an all-digital platform should be a wake up call for you if you haven’t put your business online in some way or another. The internet, through social networks, blogs, and websites is increasing how people – your consumers – are going to be communicating, discovering, buying, and learning for years to come. You should take steps now instead of later.

Lastly…

I wanted to end this post with something that Brown wrote to close her article. I, too, am saddened about the slow disappearance of print, but Tina Brown really captured what’s important when she wrote, “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.” That we must, Tina, that we must.

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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