The New Newsweek, She Has Arrived

The newly redesigned Newsweek hits the newsstands today, and The Society of Publication Designers has a first look at several pages here. It’s designed by Dirk Barnett, previously of Maxim, who tells SPD that the new design emphasizes photography more than the previous iteration, and borrows visual elements from the magazine’s web partner The Daily Beast.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Brown as saying, “Newsweek is going to take a while to rebuild…. No one’s expecting an overnight miracle.” That’s probably true. Online this morning, reaction to the new look was less than enthusiastic.

“New Newsweek hits streets with a whimper,” reads the New York Post’s headline. James Covert writes,

Brown was reportedly aiming to re-launch the magazine — which this week sports Hillary Clinton on its cover — ahead of her “Women in the World” summit, which begins later this week in Manhattan.

Indeed, there’s much about this week’s issue that looks like a rushed-out work in progress.

The Fox News website re-posts Covert’s article on its blog, but adds the word “Yawn” to the headline, and a stock photo of a man yawning. Subtle!

Choire Sicha, an editor of The Awl, is the most cutting in his criticism: “Mmm, it’s like soaking in a nice warm bath of a comfortable yesterday,” he writes, sarcastically.

I like the gumption behind all this! I am impressed that it directly addresses 44-year-olds—almost any other magazine launch would be gunning for 32-year-olds. The idea of making it a shiny weird semi-luxe thing (a giant picture of a shoe!) is probably a very good business decision. This is going to electrify the waiting rooms of dentists all over Scarsdale.

Oof. That one had to hurt. But it does seem like that’s the kind of audience Brown is going for: the same audience that Newsweek had to begin with—the same audience that is targeted by Newsweek’s most prominent display ad campaigns: Pfizer’s Lipitor, Bose, and Sleep Number Beds. Case in point: in this week’s issue, Harvey Weinstein is featured in a new interview series that takes its name from a Sheryl Crow song.

And then there’s this, a slightly tone-deaf slideshow, which came to us via tweet this morning, which we submit without comment:

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Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner