After an 80-year print run, US magazine Newsweek has revealed its last print edition will hit stands on Dec. 31. The definite withdrawal of the print edition was announced a couple of months ago.
In October, the new owners of the company, internet news site The Daily Beast announced that Newsweek would no longer be published as a print edition, but would be going online instead, citing failing advertising revenues and a readership increasingly going online for their news. Daily Beast founder, in a statement, said, “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."
With the print media seeing a near global fall in readership owing to the predominance and accessibility of the internet, the “life blood” of the print media consequently started to dry up and Newsweek’s decision, as that of others before it, comes in light of the changing times.
The last print edition, which will be on sale on December 31, shows a front cover with a black and white picture of the Newsweek offices in New York with the headline “#lastprintissue,” with the use of the hash tag being largely interpreted as a swipe at micro-blogging website, Twitter, with one reader commenting that the use of the hash tag was "like using your final breath to ID the killer."
In a statement released by Editor Tina Brown, the new online edition was described as a “new chapter” in the history of the publication with Ms. Brown adding, "This is not a conventional magazine, or a hidebound place. It is in that spirit that we're making our latest, momentous change, embracing a digital medium that all our competitors will one day need to embrace with the same fervor. We are ahead of the curve."
At its peak, Newsweek was being sold to some three million customers, but over the past couple of years, this has dwindled to more than half. But the new online edition promises even larger numbers, with Ms. Brown quoting figures of 15 million unique visitors a month. Of course, the online edition will drastically cut costs for the company, but it will also see many of the magazine’s editorial staff redundant in addition to drawing lower ad revenues.