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The cover of the December 31, 2012 issue of Newsweek, the last United States print issue of the magazine until its 2014 relaunch.
|First issue||February 17, 1933|
|Based in||New York City|
Between 2008 and 2012, Newsweek underwent internal and external contractions designed to shift the magazine's focus and audience while improving its finances. Instead, losses accelerated: revenue dropped 38 percent from 2007 to 2009. The revenue declines prompted an August 2010 sale by owner The Washington Post Company to 92-year-old audio pioneer Sidney Harman—for a purchase price of $1.00 and an assumption of the magazine's liabilities.
In November 2010, Newsweek merged with the news and opinion website The Daily Beast, forming The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, after negotiations between the owners of the two publications. Tina Brown, The Daily Beast 's editor-in-chief served as the editor of both publications. Newsweek was jointly owned by the estate of the late Harman and the diversified American Internet company IAC.
In October 2012, Brown announced that Newsweek would cease print publication with the December 31, 2012, issue and transition to an all-digital format, to be called Newsweek Global.
On August 3, 2013, IBT Media announced it had acquired Newsweek from IAC on terms that were not disclosed; the acquisition included the Newsweek brand and its online publication, but did not include The Daily Beast. IBT Media relaunched a print edition of Newsweek on March 7, 2014.
Circulation and branchesIn 2003, worldwide circulation was more than 4 million, including 2.7 million in the U.S; by 2010 it reduced to 1.5 million (with newsstand sales declining to just over 40,000 copies per week). Newsweek publishes editions in Japanese, Korean, Polish, Spanish, Rioplatense Spanish, Arabic, and Turkish, as well as an English language Newsweek International. Russian Newsweek, published since 2004, was shut in October 2010. The Bulletin (an Australian weekly until 2008) incorporated an international news section from Newsweek.
Based in New York City, the magazine has 22 bureaus: nine in the U.S.: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago/Detroit, Dallas, Miami, Washington, D.C., Boston and San Francisco, and others overseas in London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Jerusalem, Baghdad, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, South Asia, Cape Town, Mexico City and Buenos Aires.
Founding and early yearsThomas J.C. Martyn, a former foreign-news editor for Time. He obtained financial backing from a group of U.S. stockholders "which included Ward Cheney, of the Cheney silk family, John Hay Whitney, and Paul Mellon, son of Andrew W. Mellon". Paul Mellon's ownership in Newsweek apparently represented "the first attempt of the Mellon family to function journalistically on a national scale." The group of original owners invested around $2.5 million. Other large stockholders prior to 1946 were public utilities investment banker Stanley Childs and Wall Street corporate lawyer Wilton Lloyd-Smith.
The first issue of the magazine was dated 17 February 1933. Seven photographs from the week's news were printed on the first issue's cover.
In 1937 News-Week merged with the weekly journal Today, which had been founded in 1932 by future New York Governor and diplomat W. Averell Harriman, and Vincent Astor of the prominent Astor family. As a result of the deal, Harriman and Astor provided $600,000 in venture capital funds and Vincent Astor became both the chairman of the board and its principal stockholder between 1937 and his death in 1959.
In 1937 Malcolm Muir took over as president and editor-in-chief. He changed the name to Newsweek, emphasized interpretive stories, introduced signed columns, and launched international editions. Over time the magazine developed a broad spectrum of material, from breaking stories and analysis to reviews and commentary.
Under Post ownershipThe magazine was purchased by The Washington Post Company in 1961.
Osborn Elliott was named editor of Newsweek in 1961 and became the editor in chief in 1969. Edward Kosner became editor from 1975 to 1979 after directing the magazine’s extensive coverage of the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.
Richard M. Smith became Chairman in 1998, the year that the magazine inaugurated its "Best High Schools in America" list, a ranking of public secondary schools based on the Challenge Index, which measures the ratio of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams taken by students to the number of graduating students that year, regardless of the scores earned by students or the difficulty in graduating. Schools with average SAT scores above 1300 or average ACT scores above 27 are excluded from the list; these are categorized instead as "Public Elite" High Schools. In 2008, there were 17 Public Elites.
Smith resigned as board chairman in December 2007.
Restructuring and new owner Citing difficulties in competing with online news sources to provide unique news in a weekly publication, the magazine refocused its content on opinion and commentary beginning with its May 24, 2009 issue. It shrank its subscriber rate base, from 3.1 million to 2.6 million in early 2008, to 1.9 million in July 2009 and then to 1.5 million in January 2010—a decline of 50% in one year. Meacham described his strategy as "counterintuitive" as it involved discouraging renewals and nearly doubling subscription prices as it sought a more affluent subscriber base for its advertisers. During this period, the magazine also laid off staff. While advertising revenues were down almost 50% compared to the prior year, expenses were also diminished, whereby the publishers hoped Newsweek would return to profitability.
The financial results for 2009 as reported by The Washington Post Company showed that advertising revenue for Newsweek was down 37% in 2009 and the magazine division reported an operating loss for 2009 of $29.3 million compared to a loss of $16 million in 2008. During the first quarter of 2010, the magazine lost nearly $11 million.
By May 2010, Newsweek had been losing money for the past two years and was put up for sale. The sale attracted international bidders. One bidder was Syrian entrepreneur Abdulsalam Haykal, CEO of Syria-based publishing company Haykal Media, who brought together a coalition of Middle Eastern investors with his company. Haykal later claimed his bid was ignored by Newsweek's bankers, Allen & Co.
The magazine was sold to audio pioneer Sidney Harman on August 2, 2010, for $1 in exchange for assuming the magazine's financial liabilities. Harman's bid was accepted over three competitors. Meacham left the magazine upon completion of the sale. Sidney Harman was the husband of Jane Harman, at that time a member of Congress from California.
On July 25, 2012, the company operating Newsweek indicated the publication was likely to go digital to cover its losses and could undergo other changes by next year. Barry Diller, chairman and chief executive at the conglomerate IAC/InterActiveCorp, said his firm is looking at options now that its partner in the Newsweek/Daily Beast operation has pulled out.
Merger with The Daily Beast
Main article: The Newsweek Daily Beast CompanyAt the end of 2010, Newsweek merged with the online publication The Daily Beast, following extensive negotiations between the respective proprietors. Tina Brown, The Daily Beast 's editor-in-chief, became editor of both publications. The new entity, The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, was 50% owned by IAC and 50% by Harman.
The goal of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company was to have The Daily Beast be a source of instant analysis of the news, while Newsweek would serve to take a look at the bigger picture, provide deeper analysis, and "connect the dots," in the words of Harman, and for both publications to ultimately be profitable.
During her tenure as editor-in-chief of Newsweek, Brown has taken the news weekly in a different direction from her predecessor. Whereas Jon Meacham looked to make the focus solely on politics and world affairs, Brown has brought the focus back on to all of current events, not just politics, business, and world affairs (although these issues are still the focus of the magazine). This is seen in increased attention fashion and pop culture and many of her covers since taking the job.
2011 redesignNewsweek was redesigned in March 2011. The new Newsweek moved the "Perspectives" section to the front of the magazine, where it served essentially as a highlight reel of the past week on The Daily Beast. More room was made available in the front of the magazine for columnists, editors, and special guests. A new "News Gallery" section featured two-page spreads of photographs from the week with a brief article accompanying each one. The "NewsBeast" section featured short articles, a brief interview with a newsmaker, and several graphs and charts for quick reading in the style of The Daily Beast. This is where the Newsweek staple "Conventional Wisdom" was located. Brown retained Newsweek's focus on in-depth, analytical features and original reporting on politics and world affairs, as well as a new focus on longer fashion and pop culture features. A larger culture section named "Omnivore" featured art, music, books, film, theater, food, travel, and television, including a weekly "Books" and "Want" section. The back page was reserved for a "My Favorite Mistake" column written by celebrity guest columnists about a mistake they made that defines who they are.
Cessation of print format (2013)On October 18, 2012, the company announced that the American print edition would be discontinued at the end of 2012 after 80 years of publication, citing the increasing difficulty of maintaining a paper weekly magazine in the face of declining advertising and subscription revenues and increasing costs for print production and distribution. The online edition is named "Newsweek Global". The magazine is still available in hardcopy in the UK and Europe, but is published by a different company, AG Castillo Media Ltd. of London, under license from the Newsweek/Daily Beast company.
From IAC to IBTIn April 2013, IAC/InterActiveCorp Chairman and Founder Barry Diller stated at the Milken Global Conference that he "wished he hadn't bought" Newsweek because his company had lost money on the magazine and called the purchase a "mistake" and a "fool's errand."
On August 3, 2013, IBT Media acquired Newsweek from IAC on terms that were not disclosed; the acquisition included the Newsweek brand and its online publication, but did not include The Daily Beast.
On March 7, 2014, IBT Media relaunched a print edition of Newsweek with a cover story on the alleged creator of Bitcoin, which was widely criticized for its lack of substantive evidence.