So the story broke last week that after 80 years of print, Newsweek will be digital only come 2013. Many magazine purists are sad, “whyyyyy” they cry as they put plasters on their papercut fingers. To those people, I say get a life.
For me this is a good story: firstly tablets and kindle’s are definitely the way forward.
Back on topic though, we need to realise that journalism is about the message and not the medium. If Newsweek can create amazing content for the tablet generation while still making a profit and keeping up the quality then for me where is no issue. Should the quality suffer as a result then by all means there should be an uprising. The bigger question though is whether this is a worthwhile direction for other magazines? It’s common knowledge that printing is a crazy expense and the mainstream consumer is headed towards tablet ownership. I think the more interesting story is the potential for niche publishers to print magazines on smaller runs, the vinyl of magazine creation really. According to editor Tina Brown:
Currently, 39 percent of Americans say they get their news from an online source, according to a Pew Research Center study released last month. 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.
Interestingly they’re not going down the paywall route but rather focussing on great content for multiple devices and this move will help stem the $40 Million a year losses.
You can read the full press release (apparently delivered by Brown with a bunch of tears) here