China Daily. There was a time when the newsweeklies set the agenda for the nation’s conversation – when Time and Newsweek would digest the events of the week and US readers would wait by their mailboxes to see what was on the covers.
Those days have passed, and come the end of the year, the print edition of Newsweek will pass, too. Cause of death: The march of time.
“The tempo of the news and the Web have completely overtaken the news magazines,” said Stephen G. Smith, editor of the Washington Examiner and the holder of an unprecedented newsweekly triple crown – nation editor at Time, editor of US News and World Report, and executive editor of Newsweek from 1986 to 1991.
Where once readers were content to sit back and wait for tempered accounts of domestic and foreign events, they now can find much of what they need almost instantaneously on their smartphones and tablet computers. Where once advertisers had limited places to spend their dollars to reach national audiences, they now have seemingly unlimited alternatives.
So on Thursday, when Newsweek’s current owners announced they intended to halt print publication and expand the magazine’s Web presence, there was little surprise. But there was a good deal of nostalgia for what Smith called “the shared conversation that the nation used to have”, when the networks, the newsweeklies and a few national newspapers reigned.