Newsweek announced today that it will stop running its print edition next year, focusing entirely on its digital content.
The 80-year-old weekly current affairs magazine saw its circulation drop dramatically as people turned to the web for news, falling from 3.15m readers in 2001 to just 1.5m this year. In an effort to reverse this, Newsweek merged with the internet news group the Daily Beast two years ago, but continued to see losses reported to be about $40m a year.
"As the weekly publication cycle became outdated, [Newsweek] struggled to adapt to the internet age and establish a digital presence, while facing a decline in advertising and circulation," explains David Carr in the New York Times. The company now plans to operate on a paid online subscription model starting in January 2013.
But that's not all. The BBC World Service has just announced it will be axing an additional 73 jobs, thanks to major cuts to its government funding in 2010. This is the third phase of its effort to save £42m by getting rid of a number of programmes on its English-language service, and shrinking its coverage.
At the same time, rumours surfaced this week that the Guardian is also in discussions to move to an entirely online operation. While the claim was quickly denied by its editors, it is widely believed that the publication will move to digital only relatively soon.
These three announcements – all coming during the same week – reinforce a clear picture: that old media funding models are collapsing. This is both a crisis – as the pot of money available for quality journalism shrinks – and an opportunity: a chance for innovators to rethink the business of news, to build a media less beholden to corporate owners and advertisers, and to develop people-powered models that better serve their audience, not their paymasters.
Read more: Learn more about the goals of the Avaaz Daily Briefing.
Sources: BBC, New York Times, Guardian, Forbes, Telegraph, Avaaz