C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sign of the Times: Newsweek Abandons Print

The cover of Newsweek's first edition in 1933.

For good or ill, it seems an historic tipping point has been reached, as Newsweek magazine announces its exit from paper-and-ink format:
We are announcing this morning an important development at Newsweek and The Daily Beast. Newsweek will transition to an all-digital format in early 2013. As part of this transition, the last print edition in the United States will be our Dec. 31 issue.

Meanwhile, Newsweek will expand its rapidly growing tablet and online presence, as well as its successful global partnerships and events business.

Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context. Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.
Andrew Sullivan, whose Daily Dish blog appears on the Daily Beast website, is anxious to trash all printed media right away. An excerpt from his longish meditation on this subject:
The shift in my own mind has happened gradually. Even up to a year ago, I was still getting my New York Times every morning on paper, wrapped in blue plastic. Piles of them would sit in my blog-cave, read and half-read, skimmed, and noted.

Until a couple of years ago, I also read physical books on paper, and then shifted to cheaper, easier, lighter tablet versions. Then it became a hassle to get the physical NYT delivered in Provincetown so I tried a summer of reading it on a tablet. I now read almost everything on my iPad. And as I ramble down the aisle of Amtrak's Acela, I see so many reading from tablets or laptops, with the few newspapers and physical magazines seeming almost quaint, like some giant brick of a mobile phone from the 1980s. Almost no one under 30 is reading them. One day, we'll see movies with people reading magazines and newspapers on paper and chuckle. Part of me has come to see physical magazines and newspapers as, at this point, absurd. They are like Wile E Coyote suspended three feet over a cliff for a few seconds. They're still there; but there's nothing underneath; and the plunge is vast and steep. . . .

Print magazines today are basically horses and carriages, a decade after the car had gone into mass production. Why the fuck do they exist at all, except as lingering objects of nostalgia?

Your Head Trucker thought about writing a short eulogy here for the printed word, which sustained his spirit for so many years - but the modern world has no sympathy for such tristesse over antiquities like books and magazines, so I'll just keep my thoughts to myself. Besides - it's all about the money, anyway, as it always is.

Bonus: Just for fun, a report from 1981 on the future of online newspapers, then just barely a reality for a select few, as television was in the 1930's:

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails