Stephanie Clifford of The New York Times takes notice of The Washington Post putting Newsweek up for sale, calling it a sign of decline for newsweeklies.
Newsweek’s circulation was 3.14 million in the first half of 2000. By the second half of 2009, that dropped to 1.97 million. Time’s circulation declined from 4.07 million to 3.33 million in the same period. U.S. News & World Report, the also-ran newsweekly, abandoned its weekly publication schedule in 2008 to become monthly.
Meanwhile, The Economist, which offered British-accented reports on business and economic news, and The Week, an unabashedly middle-brow summary of the weekly news that began publishing in the United States in 2001, were on the rise.
One of my lines early in my career was that to get a story in Newsweek, you had to declare a war (I started in PR during the first Bush administration, when that happened fairly often).
I'll let Clifford's story stand for itself - and of course all the major media have a story on the sale today. My observation is that while TIME has held up editorially and U.S. News & World Report has found a way to stay in business by flogging niche markets like special reports on education that still pull in advertising, Newsweek has struggled.
Newsweek has tried to go a celebrity route with its journalism, where who is doing the reporting is just as important as what is reported. Almost every story I've pulled from the site's business coverage has been a column and where I've criticized content it's usually been because the writer's personality overwhelmed the news.
In contrast, TIME is still doing straight reporting and doing it exceptionally well given the small news window it has for business.
Clifford notes the continued success of The Economist, the magazine all other magazines want to be these days, and that paper sublimates personality to news so much that it doesn't have bylines at all.
Something to think about.