Thursday, July 15, 2010

PRESS MAN: Don’t Give Readers What They Want

Interesting evaluation of the death of Newsweek:

PRESS MAN: Don’t Give Readers What They Want: "His efforts peaked last year, when he unveiled a new business and editorial plan with three main elements. He raised the magazine’s price per issue, to a whopping $6 on newsstands. He cut costs by laying off staff and by letting half his subscribers drop off the rolls. And he recast the magazine’s content for those readers who were stubborn enough to hang on. His newsweekly, he said, would no longer even pretend to offer the traditional summary of the previous week’s events, as it had been doing, with dwindling enthusiasm, for nearly 80 years. Instead, readers would find “argued essays” and “reported narrative ... grounded in original observation and freshly discovered fact.” It would become a “provocative (but not partisan)” magazine of opinion—a liberal magazine written by liberals who didn’t want to admit they were liberals.

This final reinvention of Newsweek left Meacham’s customers with a choice. They could turn to the Web and get “a different kind of news” for free, or they could go to Newsweek and get “a different kind of news” for $6 a week. He seemed startled that so many of them turned out to be skinflints."

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