Newsweek will no longer print, going digital

After 80 years on paper, the magazine will be available only online and on tablet computers

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 October, 2012, 5:19am


Newsweek will print its final edition at the end of this year.

After nearly 80 years of publication, the news magazine will shift to a digital-only format, available online and on tablet computers, editor-in-chief Tina Brown said on the magazine's website yesterday. Its last will be the December 31 issue.

"We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it," Brown said. "We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. 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."

The digital-only publication, supported by paid subscriptions and dubbed Newsweek Global, will be aimed at a "highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context," Brown said.

Newsweek's announcement marks a significant transition for the magazine, which was founded in 1933 and has been undergoing its own identity crisis and financial turmoil in recent years.

"I think Newsweek lost its relevance and that is somewhat obscured by the digital transition," said Ken Doctor, an analyst with research firm Outsell.

"They didn't stand out as being a must-read, and you have to be a must-read in some way."

In 2010, Newsweek and The Daily Beast announced they would merge, jointly owned by Sidney Harman, an audio equipment magnate who died last year, and IAC, the media and advertising company run by Barry Diller.

Dan Kennedy, journalism professor at Northeastern University in Boston, said the synergies expected from the print-digital combination never materialised. He said: "The whole idea behind the Newsweek-Daily Beast merger was to marry print to digital. So … if Newsweek is going to cease to exist as a print product, then the idea failed."

But Kennedy said that positioning Newsweek as a paid digital publication "at least in theory gives [Newsweek] a chance" to build a revenue stream.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse