On Thursday, Newsweek/Daily Beast editor Tina Brown announced that Newsweek will cease print production by the end of 2012, and in 2013 will shift to an entirely digital format.
Brown joined Morning Joe on Friday to discuss the decision, which she characterized as “very difficult and very unfortunate” but a “necessity we need to do.” Brown cited mounting business costs as reasons to make the shift as the brand looks to the future.
“We took the plunge. We wanted to embrace the future…and not talk anymore about the legacies of the past. It costs $43 million to print, manufacture, distribute and manage the circulation of Newsweek before you have even hired one writer or one editor. And that is just the most enormous millstone, frankly, to deal with.”
Morning Joe regular and advertising executive Donny Deutsch commended Brown’s decision, calling print a dinosaur and suggesting few publications in the future will remain in print.
“It was a brave move for Tina. Clearly the right move. It’s a dinosaur. The only magazines that will survive are certain types of specialty magazines…the fashion magazines, the US’s, the People’s, but the newsweeklies, the sports weeklies…done.”
Brown also echoed Deutsch’s thoughts in saying she believes it’s simply a matter of time before all print publications shift entirely to digital.
“There are some brilliant print magazines still doing very well, and they’ll stay doing well, but eventually, it may not be this year for them but in the next couple of years it will for them, too,” Brown stated.
The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson also commented on the “soft-spot” he held for Newsweek “…because it was our sister publication for all that long time.” Robinson also echoed the concerns of seemingly every print editor and writer in saying: “All of us who work in print watch these leaps into the digital world and hope they’re successful.”
Newsweek launched in 1933, and it merged with the Daily Beast Web site in 2010 after the Washington Post Co. sold the magazine to stereo magnate Dr. Sidney Harman.
Brown took the helm when Newsweek relaunched in 2011, serving as the editor-in-chief of both Newsweek and the Daily Beast.