Newsweek’s New Strategy: Become The Economist


This week’s Newsweek cover story, “The Religious Case for Gay Marriage,” led readers to organise subscription-cancelling campaigns and forced Newsweek CEO Tom Ascheim to create a new email account to handle angry letters.

It was exactly the kind of response the new Newsweek wants, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Newsweek plans to cut staff, pages, and the number of copies it produces each week while adding more pictures and charged, opinionated copy in an effort to survive.

“We are trying to be more provocative,” Newsweek editor Jon Meacham said.

The model is the opinion-driven Economist, which does not bother with expensive original reporting.

Readers unhappy with the changes should blame the Web, explains the Journal:

Weeklies have proven particularly vulnerable to the flight of readers and advertisers to the Web. So far this year, Time’s ad pages are off 17% and Newsweek’s down an estimated 21%, with one fewer issue this year, according to trade publication Mediaweek. In response, both Time, part of Time Warner Inc., and Newsweek already have cut staff and their rate bases in the past two years. US News & World Report announced this fall it will publish only once a month, its second retrenchment this year.

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