While the Zambia government which the president calls primitive people are daily plotting to close on-line news media especially the Zambian Watchdog (this publication), US based Newsweek announced Thursday it will shift to online-only publication next year, discontinuing its print version after 80 years.
Tina Brown, the editor-in-chief of both Newsweek and The Daily Beast, the online news site that was combined with the magazine last year, made the announcement on line.
She said the growing use of tablet computers by readers, combined with continued weakness in print advertising, forced the decision.
“Exiting print is an extremely difficult moment for all of us who love the romance of print and the unique weekly camaraderie of those hectic hours before the close on Friday night,” she said in the statement. “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.”
The final print edition will be the Dec. 31, 2012 issue.
Brown said reaching readers in the future increasingly depends on the digital version, citing a Pew Research Center survey that said 39% of Americans get their news from an online source. And there are expected to be 70 million computer tablet users by the end of the year, she said, up from 13 million just two years ago.
Despite having so much more paid readership for its print version than its digital version, Newsweek’s print advertising has been in a steep, steady decline in recent years, plunging by $334 million, or 70%, between 2007 and 2011, according to figures from the Publishers Information Bureau. The new online publication will be called Newsweek Global.
“Regrettably, we anticipate staff reductions and the streamlining of our editorial and business operations both here in the U.S. and internationally,” Brown said in the statement, although she did not give any details on the extent of the staffing cuts to come.
Richard Stengel, managing editor of Time, said in a television appearance Thursday that he believes there is still value in publishing a paper version of a magazine, despite the costs.
“That still is the single the most expensive thing, to chop down trees, to put ink on paper, put it on a truck and deliver it to your house,” he said while on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “But I do think that that becomes a premium product.”