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Newsweek magazine calls it quits

Kai Ryssdal Oct 18, 2012
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Today it was announced that soon to be 80-year-old Newsweek magazine will cease its print edition by year’s end.

“We are announcing this morning an important development at Newsweek and The Daily Beast. Newsweek will transition to an all-digital format in early 2013. As part of this transition, the last print edition in the United States will be our Dec. 31 issue,” wrote Newsweek and Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown in her online announcement.

“It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not,” Brown continued. “We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it. 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 news shocked few media watchers. In fact, all you had to do was listen to Barry Diller, whose company IAC has a controlling stake in Newsweek Daily Beast, when he spoke to Kai Ryssdal a few weeks ago.

“I think you have to have a high tolerance for unproven investment,” Diller told Kai when asked about the flagging news weekly. “Now, at a certain point, as we’ve done in some things, we’ve said, ‘Well, we’ve invested $90 million in this and it hasn’t worked out for us. Sell it…write it off…go on to the next thing!'”

Digital media advocate Jeff Jarvis is sad about the journalists and others who will lose their jobs, but he sees it as a natural progression.

“I celebrate transitioning to the digital world,” says Jarvis. “Newsweek may or may not make it, but what this does is say — more and more and more —  that news and media are going to live digitally. That’s where we have to go.”

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