Monday, January 19, 2009

Newsweeklies...And Then There Was One...

“News has become a commodity. They already know the news. We’re not in the business of telling people the news,” Richard Stengel, managing editor of Time, told the New York Times' Richard Perez-Pena.

Very startling acknowledgment.

According to the article, "The Popular Newsweekly Becomes a Lonely Category," "Newsweek may be poised to" make substantial changes this year: "Executives have said it will strive to be a “thought leader,” competing more with The Economist than with Time — in other words, a big stride in the direction it was already headed. The strategy includes a major reduction in circulation and operating costs and a focus on an elite audience to attract advertisers."

Here's some further analysis by Perez-Pena:

Unable to compete with the immediacy of television, cable and then the Internet, newsmagazines have been moving for decades in the direction of analysis, commentary and news-related feature articles. That trend has accelerated in recent years, driven by financial pressures. The magazines’ editorial staffs are about half as big as they were in the 1990s, and they have shuttered many of the bureaus they once had around the world.

They still produce some deep, original reporting. But these days, they are more likely to offer a comprehensive survey of a subject to present an argument or offer a prescription — like Newsweek’s recent cover article on why President-elect Barack Obama may come to embrace Vice President Dick Cheney’s view of executive power, or Time’s on how a trillion-dollar stimulus package should be spent.

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