Why Newsweek Once Mattered


Newsweek was once a special magazine.

As a teenager living in a rural area Newsweek was a way to gather lots of information.  From international news, the latest on science and politics, or just getting a better perspective about life the magazine opened my mind to lots of things I had never known about before.  As a result of reading Newsweek I became more curious about many people and things that were new to me.  .

From the serious such as Stephen Jay Gould and his work with evolution, to the campy entertainment fun of John Waters, Newsweek provided me with information and ideas that otherwise was not a part of my life in Hancock, Wisconsin.

I read each edition cover to cover as a teenager, and waited for the next one to arrive.

Over the past many months I have lamented what has happened to Newsweek, and have placed much of the blame onto the shoulders of Tina Brown.  Today it was announced that Newsweek is discontinuing its print version after 80 years.

While magazines of all stripes are suffering from lack of ad dollars and sales, there is  a classy way to style a publication while offering content that lifts minds as opposed to producing mere schlock in an attempt to make money.  I am proof that the high-minded approach to publishing has a positive end result.

If Newsweek was going to succumb to the pressures of the digital age, at least let it pass with honor.

Instead Brown made a mockery of the publication that allowed me as a young person to see places I wanted to go, and further explore topics that I grew curious about as a result of the weekly journey it took me on.

There is no glee here that Brown’s work has failed at Newsweek, as for me there was never any doubt that it would.

I am sure many around the nation recall the grand days of this important touchstone to news, politics, and ideas, and feel sad over it’s passing.  I am also sure that there are many who are better people as a result by having had a subscription to Newsweek somewhere in their past.

One thought on “Why Newsweek Once Mattered

  1. Solly

    I first started reading Newsweek in the high school library, and was a subsriber for 40 years, until Newsweek made it clear they would no longer cover a wide ranging of news, politics, and popular culture. Rather than blaming Tina Brown in the last stage of this debacle, perhaps Jon Meacham and Deke Rivers should look in the mirror. The intelligenstia decided that a magazine that published for the general public, was not in the league of the Economist. What wasn’t broke, had to be fixed. They couldn’t stand 2.6 million subscribers, and needed to cut it to a smaller group of “thoughtful” people. When that didn’t work, Meacham is gone, and Deke Rivers is blaming Tina Brown.
    http://www.foliomag.com/2008/newsweek-mulls-dramatic-drop-circulation
    “Aside from the cost of maintaining such a high circulation, Newsweek would like to transition from newsmagazine to “thought leader,” something more akin to the Economist. “[Editor Jon] Meacham and [Time editorial director Richard] Stengel are both infatuated with the Economist,” the source said. “To get that ‘thought leader’ position, a million is the sweet spot.” The Economist’s rate base in North America is 714,000.”

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