The Atlantic has an excellent story (here) on retooling the newsweeklies to compete in the internet economy.
In the digital age, with its overabundance of information, the modern newsweekly is in a particularly poignant position. Designed nearly a century ago to be all things to all people, it Chaplin-esquely tries to straddle thousands of rapidly fragmenting micro-niches, a mainframe in an iTouch world. The audience it was created to serve—middlebrow; curious, but not too curious; engaged, but only to a point—no longer exists. Newsweeklies were intended to be counterprogramming to newspapers, back when we were drowning in newsprint and needed a digest to redact that vast inflow of dead-tree objectivity. Now, in response to accelerating news cycles, the newspapers have effectively become newsweekly-style digests themselves, resorting to muddy “news analysis” now that the actual news has hit us on multiple platforms before we even open our front door in the morning.
Bottom line here is that advertising used to be sold on a “hits” basis, but now that hits are practically worthless (blame the ease at which juvenile humor, celebrities drinking starbucks and vitriol can produce millions of hits) it’s engagement and finding or slashing circulation down to an audience that is passionate about the product you produce. This also means they can start discarding all the junk they put in the magazines that caters to a more general interest crowd. Sounds good to me.