Tina Brown: 'I don't actually go to newsstands anymore'

Last week, Newsweek announced its print product will end in December. On his CNN show this weekend, Howard Kurtz asked Newsweek/Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown whether the self-described "ultimate magazine junkie" thought it was "sad" that Newsweek "will vanish from the newsstands."

My own habits have changed so dramatically. I don't actually go to newsstands anymore. Even on stations now and in airports I find myself deciding that I'm going to opt for what is on my Kindle, you know, on the plane. And I walk through those planes I see everybody reading screens. So it's one of those things where, yes, I'm sorry because, you know, I feel a certain romance still for print and I always will, I still love books more than I love reading screens actually. But at the same time I know everything has changed, and I also want to go where our readers are. I mean, in the end, you know, you want to rise to your audience, not sort of decide you're going to just continue like some blind person who forgets it's no longer the silent movie era and now we're in the talkies.

Newsweek's digital edition has 44,000 subscribers, Brown said. "And we're going to be able to transfer a great many subs over to the digital Newsweek," she added. In its June publisher's statement with the Audit Bureau of Circulations, Newsweek reported 27,854 digital subscribers, 1.8 percent of its total subscriptions.

More on Newsweek:

• Michael Learmonth writes that "At this point, publishers have a pretty good idea what their business looks like without print: a lot smaller."

• Simon Dumenco says that "when bad news arrives in the magazine world," such as Newsweek's announcement, "it gets outsized attention and is seen as some sort of barometer of the overall health of the industry. ... Meanwhile, over in the reality-based media community, a lot of magazines continue to be not only damn good businesses, but are doing better than ever."

• Susan Currie Sivek says Gourmet's "somewhat lackluster transition" to a digital product has lessons for Newsweek, which will have to "develop digital excellence rapidly to keep audiences interested -- and paying -- if it's going to survive for long."

• U.S. News & Word Report Editor Brian Kelly "could barely keep from scoffing" when Erik Wemple asked him how much revenue his publication's digital edition brings in compared to its data business. “I mean, 1 percent or something like that,” Kelly said.

• Jonathan Alter remembers working for the magazine in its salad days:

Newsweek opened doors. For decades, mentioning my affiliation carried more weight abroad than had I worked for the New York Times or the Washington Post, which -- before the Internet --circulated in foreign capitals only through the International Herald Tribune. Like my colleagues, I could land in a country and within a few hours arrange important interviews that would be impossible at the same level in the United States: The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, the top general in Guatemala (a man responsible for mass killings of civilians), the soon-to-be president of Nicaragua. All talked.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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