Newsweekly No More

Jon Meacham, Newsweek’s editor, describes the thinking behind the magazine’s planned makeover:

“There’s a phrase in the culture, ‘we need to take note of,’ ‘we need to weigh in on.’… That’s going away. If we don’t have something original to say, we won’t. The drill of chasing the week’s news to add a couple of hard-fought new details is not sustainable.”

… Editorially, Newsweek’s plan calls for moving in the direction it was already headed — toward not just analysis and commentary, but an opinionated, prescriptive or offbeat take on events…

Newsweek executives hope they are creating a new niche, but the magazine will not have the terrain to itself. To varying degrees, it will be plying turf already worked by The Economist, The New Yorker, The Atlantic and others.

Newsweek will focus on and attempt to “grow slightly” its “core of 1.2 million subscribers who are its best-educated, most avid consumers of news, and who have higher incomes than the average reader.” Said Tom Ascheim, Newsweek’s chief executive, “If you can’t get people to pay for what they love, we’re all out of business.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.