After nearly eighty years Newsweek has printed its final copy featuring a picture of the old Newsweek offices in New York with a Twitter hashtag #LastPrintIssue plastered across the front.
The beginning of the end for the longtime number two news magazine began when the Washington Post Co. sold the publication to audio electronics billionaire Sidney Harman two years ago for $1, plus the assumed liabilities.
Harman didn’t buy Newsweek because he thought he could turn the perennial money-losing magazine around, but because he wanted to continue its liberal journalism tradition that had been fostered under the ownership of the Post.
But after suffering a reported $30 million in losses, Harman merged Newsweek with The Daily Beast hoping to take advantage of the digital savvy of the Beast and staunch the bleeding.
Instead of a merger though, it was more like a Daily Beast takeover with Tina Brown taking over as editor and the shuttering of the magazine’s website in favor of the Beast’s site.
Yet no matter what Brown tried, the magazine continued to sustain heavy losses as readers continued to migrate to the web and Brown de-emphasized hard news in an effort to save Newsweek.
Now instead of paying for a print magazine readers will be asked to spend $4.99 per issue for the online edition or $24.99 for a one-year subscription. That won’t be an easy sell.
Maybe a better hashtag epitaph would have been #PrintIsDead.