This morning as I was driving into work, I was greeted with the latest news industry news: Newsweek’s print edition will go the way of the dinosaur at the end of the year. The weekly news magazine will still be around in an all-digital format, Newsweek Global, but I know I’ll be speaking for a lot of readers when I whine, “It just won’t be the same.” We’ve lost another icon.
Newsweek has been bringing news, pop culture and analysis to America’s living rooms since 1933. During its heyday, millions of Americans were subscribing to Newsweek, waiting with anticipation for the magazine to land in their mailboxes week in and week out, and seeing stories about everything from John F. Kennedy’s assassination to Diana Ross’ ascension to the disco throne. A quick glance through its cover archives will show you the breadth of Newsweek’s coverage.
For many, Newsweek was more than just news: It had become synonymous with the sacred Saturday morning ritual of drinking coffee and reading the news. But with each new defunct publication (first the Saturday Evening Post, then Life magazine, and now, Newsweek), that ritual is being buried and the slow pace of digesting news is being lost. And as ebooks replace hardbacks in library catalogs, writers are facing the same digital quagmire.
As writers — and this goes for novelists and journalists alike — we have to take this digital dichotomy with a grain of salt. Although it’s painful to see readers tossing aside print pages in favor of webpages, we should take solace in knowing that writing endures. Copies of Newsweek will be used as historical records decades from now, and so will its new Newsweek Global platform. Our writing has staying power, regardless of whether it’s found on bounded pages or web pages.