Newsweek Hangs Print Out to Dry, Going All Digital in Early 2013

If a tree rejoices in the forest but nobody is around to hear it, does it still sound like jubilation? We may never know the answer, but we imagine there are several of them hootin' and hollerin' to the news that Newsweek is abandoning its print business model and transitioning to all-digital format in "early 2013."

Newsweek made the announcement on The Daily Beast, an online rag it merged with in 2012 to create The Newsweek Daily Beast Company. If you're a collector type, keep your eye peeled for the December 31 issue of Newsweek, which will be the final print version. Ever.

Newsweek iPad

"Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context," Newsweek stated in its announcement. "Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast."

The Daily Beast is home to 15 million unique visitors a month, representing a 70 percent spike in hits in the past year alone. Newsweek claims that a "healthy portion" of that traffic is generated by the magazine's "strong original journalism." It also acknowledges that its business model has been adversely affected by a "challenging print advertising environment."

Tablets and e-readers have exploded onto the marketplace in the past year. Like it or not, print is quickly becoming a secondary source for news and content, and moves like this one underscore how difficult it is to thrive as a print magazine. Newsweek insists this is just a transition period, and not the end of its business.

The very first issue of Newsweek; printed 79 years ago on February 17, 1933.

"We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it. We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents," Newsweek said. "This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism—that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution."

What do you think about Newsweek's decision to abandon print?