Stop the presses: Newsweek to be scrapped after 80 years

US institution will go 'digital-only' due to falling circulation and mounting losses

Los Angeles

It has been a fixture on America's coffee tables since Herbert Hoover was attempting to lead the nation out of the Great Depression. But after almost 80 years, and more than 4,000 print editions, Newsweek magazine is to be scrapped.

Tina Brown, high-profile editor of the current affairs weekly, yesterday announced her title was going "digital-only" after a long struggle with falling circulation and mounting debts. The final physical copy will hit newsagents' shelves on New Year's Eve.

Next year, Newsweek will begin a new existence as a virtual magazine. Its content will be available either to subscribers willing to use iPads and other e-reader devices, or to the world at large via websites controlled by The Daily Beast, the sister company it merged with two years ago.

"We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it," said Ms Brown. She blamed the move on "the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution" in an era when more and more people were getting news from the internet.

"Exiting print is an extremely difficult moment for all of us who love the romance of print and the unique weekly camaraderie of those hectic hours before the close on Friday night. But as we head for the 80th anniversary of Newsweek next year we must sustain the journalism that gives the magazine its purpose—and embrace the all-digital future."

The scrapping of the magazine follows years of decline in its paid circulation, which was 3.1 million in 2007 but had fallen to 1.5 million by last June. In the same era, news-stand sales, which cost more, so account for a disproportionate share of revenue, fell from 100,000 to 42,000.

Income from advertising has fallen despite a small uptick last year. As a private company, the title's current financial figures are unknown. But in 2009, at the height of the downturn, it lost $28m. By 2010, when the title was sold to Sidney Harman for $1, it was believed to be losing $20m a year.

The move to digital will allow Newsweek to reduce its editorial staff of 400. The magazine's parent company will also see printing and distribution costs vanish. It remains unclear whether loyal readers will be reimbursed for unfulfilled subscriptions.

Recent years have been a far cry from the glory days of the 1960s, when Newsweek made a deep impression on the political landscape, helping capture the glamour of the Kennedy White House, and spearheading mainstream coverage of the Civil Rights Era. Its circulation peaked at more than 3 million in the 1970s, and remained steady for decades, before starting to decline precipitously in the Noughties. After being purchased by Mr Harman, who assumed $47m in liabilities in 2008, the title was merged with The Daily Beast, a web-only news outlet founded by Ms Brown, a former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker.

Since then, circulation has continued to fall, even as Ms Brown attempted to entice new subscribers with a series of eye-catching – but controversial – front covers. One showed shouting Middle Eastern men, and was headlined "Muslim Rage".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - ASP.NET, C#, MVC - London

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...

Ashdown Group: .NET Developer : ASP.NET , C# , MVC , web development

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits - see advert: Ashdown Group: .N...

Guru Careers: 3D Package Designer / 3D Designer

£25 - 30K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an exceptional 3D Package Designer / 3...

Guru Careers: Interior Designer

£Competitive: Guru Careers: We are seeking a strong Middleweight / Senior Inte...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss