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?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Ed Miliband and David Cameron are neck and neck in the polls
election 2015Armando Iannucci: on how British politics is broken
Life and Style
Great minds like Einstein don't think alike
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Guru Careers: Business Analyst / Digital Business Analyst

£50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Analyst / Digital Bus...

Guru Careers: Business Development Manager / Sales

£30 - 40k (£65k Y1 OTE Uncapped): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Deve...

Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power