Saturday, December 29, 2012

Farewell Newsweek

Today I received the final print issue of Newsweek magazine in the mail. It arrived in my mailbox on an odd day, wedged in between Christmas and New Year's Day. A Saturday. So far removed from the urgency that used to accompany it's arrival early in the week, ready to share intelligent thoughts about the current news of the world.

One last gasp and then it is gone forever.


Newsweek lost it's swagger. It's been a couple of years since I really cared what was written on it's pages. Yet I continued to renew my subscription. I hoped.

The magazine didn't suffer and die because pop culture prefers to receive their news digested and sputtered in small chunks via a mobile device. Personally, I lost interest in Newsweek when Tina Brown turned it into a collection of self-aware, sexified, introspective faux-journalism. Gone were the vivid photos of top news from across the country and the world. Gone were the collection of stories that took the time to make sense of the complicated web of business, politics, and social controversy. Gone were journalists who wrote with passion so that their audience could see the broader world.

Left were snarky stories about the avant-garde, riddled with insider drivel about topics that may have been scintillating to Tina and her minions in their Ivory Tower in NYC, but were little more than another day's recycling to me in Middle America where I dealt with a job and a family and a thirst for news. Somewhere along the line Newsweek forgot who their target audience was and began writing for themselves...after the real journalists left the room.

I fully understand the economics of printing a magazine and enticing advertisers to carve up part of their declining media spend for your publication. Perhaps Newsweek wouldn't have survived anyway. But, I find it obnoxious to blame the electronic transmission of news for the death of what has already become a shell of what it once was.

This particular issue actually captivated me and forced me to recall the days when I would stand in the kitchen and read it from cover to cover while cooking dinner after a long day at work. Life moves at warp speed for everyone today. And, I'm a huge fan of the digital age, I write a blog for goodness sake. But, that magazine always stopped me in my tracks. I tire of screen time. I feel overwhelmed by the Twitter chatter in the background all day. Historically, this publication served up the boldest and most important news in concert with bright, incisive editorials. It WAS different because it was old school.

Then it became the print version of The Daily Beast. Heaven Help Me!

I'm sorry to see it go. I'll miss the version of Newsweek before Tina turned it into her own Tattler/Vanity Fair with a smattering of carelessly inserted news hooks. The cover Twitter Hashtag should not be #LastPrintIssue it should be #EgoKilledNewsweek.

Farewell my friend. I've missed seeing you around the last few years and now I know that there really is no more reason to hope. Newsweek died.