Newsweek, considered one of America's publishing icon, is closing down its print edition as current owners of the newsweekly magazine disclosed on Thursday that final issue will come out end of December 2012.
The U.S. publication will then transition into full digital form, now popular among readers that mostly rely on smartphones and tablet computers for their regular fix of news, capping almost eight decades of covering global upheavals and providing information, analysis and even entertainment that endeared the magazine to its readers.
Newsweek had peaked to a readership base of more than three million worldwide, Reuters said, but the advent of competitions - first the radio, then television and finally the Internet to deliver the final blow - gradually prompted many readers to abandon the medium, lured away by the readily-available news being offered by the web.
Presently, 1.5 million readers are listed as subscribers but the magazine's current owner, Barry Diller of IAC-Interactive Corp, had hinted earlier this year that the numbers were not enough to stem the operating losses that the publication has been incurring.
Reuters said Newsweek is about $US40 million on the red, too heavy indeed for a news business hardly attracting active readership and advertisers now attuned to radio, TV and online for spreading the name-recall of their products.
Newsweek officials have indicated that readers on its subscribers' roll will be migrated to the digital version, currently deployed on e-readers and tablets, the costs of which roughly the same with the 12-month subscription fee.
Former editors who built up their career on Newsweek called the shift as the sad passing of the golden age of newsweeklies, which according to Edward Kosner, once an executive of the magazine, was now "a lost world . . . it's like talking about the 19th century."
"People took the magazines (Newsweek including) very, very seriously. They were important. They were influential," Mr Kosner told The Associated Press in reminiscing the high pedestal achieved by publications such as Newsweek, Time and many more.
With Newsweek's print edition soon folding up, that era, he conceded, is slowly fading away too.
The changing media landscape, of course, is not exclusive to U.S.-based publications as Aussie media firms also encountered serious challenges that at times were deemed as existential threats.
Major media companies like Fairfax and News Ltd have been compelled to adjust and reshape their operations just so to deal with the changing consumption habits by readers, many of whom are now Internet-savvy.
Inevitably, the digital option has become an indispensable component of modern publication, with some brands accepting the practicality of parallel issues - online and print - while others conceding defeat either by going completely digital or shutting down altogether, media experts said.
Analysts now wonder if Time is set to follow suit, though AP noted on its report that the more popular rival of Newsweek counts 3.38 million of regular customers, sufficient maybe to hold off for a while the onslaught of modern media.
Rick Stengel, managing editor for Time, appears fully confident that his magazine will not meet the same fate that befell Newsweek, which was founded 10 years following the first issue of Time in 1923.
"We have certainly moved past seeing them as a single competitor . . . and our competitor is everybody. We have done very well and we will continue to do very well," Mr Stengel quoted by Reuters as saying.
He suggested too that the magazine will lose its essence without the print companion, which he noted is the 'centrepiece' of the nearly 90-year-old Time brand.
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