What Every News Weekly Magazine Aspires to Be – and Why it’s Unsustainable

There is no market for a news weekly that regurgitates the news that happened ten days ago, daily newspapers have proven that. But good writing about current events will attract a specific and loyal reader.

The New York Times chronicles how Newsweek has redesigned to be a cross between The Economist and The New Republic by focusing on politics. Print publication is moving away from generalist to specialist, mass media to micromedia, with smaller audiences and advertising revenue opportunities. Some print publications, like Newsweek are upgrading their paper stock, and increasing their pricing. In simple terms, magazines are now trying to be… books.

One look at the book publishing industry today will tell you this is not the route to take. The magazine business model is dying in fits and starts by trying new directions, like Newsweek, to maintain journalistic relevancy. This is the usual course of the media… every new twist and turn seems to make the print marketplace smaller and smaller.

The magazine industry should look at who their customers are now – people who pick up magazines on the fly for something to read (probably because they forgot their iPhones), or people who pick up a free publication because it is… free. The supermarket tabloids, the free community press and local advertiser mags will continue to live on further, but they need to justify their cost of printing versus ad revenues.


About Pat Kitano

Patrick Kitano works with brands in developing hyperlocal engagement solutions and is administrator of the Breaking News Network, a national hyperlocal network devoted to community service. He is the author of The Local Network on Street Fight, and is reachable via Twitter @pkitano and email pkitano@gmail.com.

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