Newsweeklies, Where To Go From Here

- - Magazines

Here’s a debate on Fox Business via Mr. Magazine where the two pundits brought on to debate Time vs. Newsweek end up taking different positions on what those two newsweeklies should actually be covering to stay relevant.

Dr. Husni, J schooler and clearly a big champion of printed magazines argues that newsweeklies need to change their content to better become a bridge between what happened last week and what’s about to happen and how it will effect readers. John Friedman columnist at Market Watch dismisses printed magazines and the newsstand entirely claiming that the battle is on the web and the newsstand is dead.

Do you carve out your place on a shrinking newsstand to deliver something nobody else does or do you evolve your business model to chase news online? To do both well, will take a serious investment.

There Are 10 Comments On This Article.

  1. News magazines and newspapers must change their business models to web first, if they are to survive.

    Print will not die, but, it is trading places with the web. In the past years, it has been print first and the extras go on the web site as an afterthought.

    Well, neither print nor web should be an after thought.

    With the world continuing toward the path of niche and the “longtail”, a general news magazine is the last place I would want to be. But, if they are to survive they will have to change and create a specific news niche that can’t be easily found through other sources.

    Unfortunately, that takes more resources and that doesn’t seem to be the current or future business model of most magazines and newspapers either.


  2. I think companies should evaluate reading habits first before just assuming that they should duplicate all their content on both web and print. I know for me personally, I don’t read much on the web I just spend 5 – 10 seconds “speed reading”. For magazines however, usually I’ll read the entire article. It’s just more comfortable to sit on the couch or lay in bed while reading a magazine right before falling asleep. After spending time on the computer, I feel in need of a chiropractor. Same goes for the newspaper. I read the L.A. Times in print every morning while eating breakfast. I never look at their website unless it is for something very specific driving me there. I don’t see anything that the web can do to change my reading habits. Print is working fine for me.

  3. What does age have to do with reading content on- or off-line? Better eyes..more patience? I doubt it. Human beings of all ages will soon realize that no one wants to watch tv on a 3″ screen (the iPod, the iPhone) and no one wants to sit at their computers and become fat and lazy reading magazines or newspapers. Go’s a beautiful day!

  4. Rob –

    I had a very interesting experience today. I was in a local magazine shop here in London, called Magma. I picked up what I thought was a fashion magazine with a great b/w photo of women wearing a lace veil. It was actually cardboard and it was holding a CD. On the back was a note listing the contents: 10 fashion short films, 6 interviews & documentaries, 7 music videos, and a loop. Also listed was the website

    I didn’t buy it because it was 35 quid ($45USD) but I did check out the website. I would recommend it as it is an excellent example of how magazines can jump out of the 2d restrictions of a paper format and add so much more on screen with video and sound. Unfortunately you can’t access the content of Insidefly online. Instead they have a trailer and try and get you to order the issue. I personally wouldn’t spend that much cash but I wouldn’t mind if they showed me a commercial before I watched it for free.

    In this, and photo slide shows like the offer, I think we’re getting a glimpse of what the new media world could look like if we start to let go of the newsstand. As you’ve said before, this death of traditional media needn’t be bad news, but rather an exciting new format to show great imagery.


  5. I’ve been put in my place….

    I am almost 40 and my wife is in her mid forties. When we have chats with older and younger friends, your (Richard) comments fit the profile of the older crowd. We are actually one of the rare few who still subscribe to a newspaper.


  6. I’m still a big fan of ink on paper, and yes I’m over 50. I use the web all the time, but not much for news and general info. I think of it more as a giant very accessible library, a research tool.

    There’s still value in the traditional role of the newspaper and magazine editor in filtering through all the information available, spotting trends, aggregating content, and publishing it in an organized fashion. Yes, I could visit many specialized websites and do my own filtering, but frankly I don’t have time. I like my newspaper on the breakfast table and my weekly news magazine on the couch or in bed.

    Unfortunately, IMHO, both newspapers and magazines are getting thinner and thinner and have less value to me. I haven’t canceled yet but I’m on the verge. Those I like best, The New Yorker and The Atlantic, still run long-form articles that provide some perspective on what’s happening in the world.

    I’m probably out of the mainstream as I don’t care about celebreties or sports, which are the areas that seem to be selling well.

  7. I agree that there is a shift to online but in my view, this is being driven by advertisers wanting better measurement and ROI, rather than consumers. Printed magazines still attract a premium pricetag versus online – would you pay to view articles on a website? – as the actual consumer behaviour hasn’t moved as much as we are lead to believe. Would you prefer to lug your laptop to the beach, hairdressers, doctor or on public transport in order to pass time reading an online magazine? Personally I wouldn’t..

    Even newspapers still have a strong appeal, evidenced by strong weekend sales (sure midweek are in free, and the ability to share and spread out across the bed, living room flor or cafe table. You can’t replicate that online.

  8. Hey I’ll chime in. I am 47 years old and a chronic reader. I get my morning news online (via a personalized Google page with local, NY Times, Reuters, CNN, NPR, Drudge, Time, Newsweek, etc. feeds) as I drink my coffee. My 12 inch Powerbook goes everywhere with me and if I stop for coffee I’ll sign on and look at the news, weather ,etc. I’ve even been known to take it around the house or on the porch to do research.

    And my major client IS a newspaper.
    Stale news, printed on dead trees, delivered a day late.

    Now I do like what Time and Newsweek appear to be doing with an apparent “floating deadline.” New articles seem to pop up every day. I surmise that instead of a “fixed-drop dead line,” they have a fluid set of due dates for online then a compilation for the weekly print. I’m not sure about the print as I have not been in the dentist’s waiting room recently. And I say this as someone that loves a good magazine.