Newsweek’s Move to All-Digital and the Future of Printed News

Newsweek’s first issue, Feb. 17, 1933

I don’t know why I was surprised when I recently read that Newsweek was discontinuing its printed edition. The writing had been on the wall for some time (no pun intended). After the merger in 2010 with The Daily Beast, resulting in longtime, prestigious reporters and editors such as Fareed Zakaria and George Will leaving, the magazine was never the same. Still, it’s disappointing; Newsweek was first published 80 years ago.

Newsweek’s announcement got me thinking about other magazines that have shut down or gone to an all-digital format. Some quick research turned up the following recognized magazines that have ceased operations in the past year: Smart Money, Gourmet, Healthy Cooking and something called Nintendo Power.

When I looked at my super skinny Denver Post this morning, I can’t help but wonder when the printed news pages will cease to exist. According to PR Daily, 152 newspapers shut down in 2011. (Although, in a recent Audit Bureau Circulation report circulation at many papers is up when you combine print and digital readership).

A common theme that you hear from reporters today is that they’re covering so many different topics or beats that they can no longer focus on in-depth stories, or cover anything but breaking news.

Has the 4th estate lost its power to serve that important watchdog role and oversight of our political, community and business leaders?

Are we losing out as a nation when the printed news pages are disappearing and we’re moving to a digital, scan the news on Twitter, more condensed format?  Can citizen journalists pick up where traditional reporters have left off?

These are questions and topics that are worthy of further discussion. With that said, check out magazines that have outlasted Newsweek for a bit of humor.

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