End of an Era – The last ‘Newsweek’ Print Issue

Standard

newsweekThe final cover of the print edition of “Newsweek” was revealed in an article in “The Huffington Post.”

Even though I haven’t read “Newsweek” in over ten years, I’m sad to see it go, just as I was also sad to see many of the other weekly and monthly print magazines I grew up with go out of business over the years. With the loss of these magazines, the public (and writers) lost a lot of outlets for short stories, features, commentary, viewpoint and the longer-form journalism that wouldn’t fit in the daily newspaper.

Founded in 1933, “Newsweek” seemed destined to trail behind “Time Magazine” in circulation. However, I found it more accessible than “Time” during the days before it began going down hill. As a subscriber, the first indication of coming hard times was the size of the magazine. It began getting thinner and thinner as pages were cut even though the subscription price increased.

I mourn the death of magazines because they presented in-depth stories most newspapers didn’t have the time or space to cover. Our Internet world is too full of hype, instant-experts, short-attention-span articles, articles filled with opinions and commentary, and all the other rush-to-judgement “facts” and “notions” the social media are famous for. Online “news,” to the extent that it can be called news, has lost most of the traditions of solid, professional reporting.

Blurring Facts and Opinions

Another reason I stopped reading “Newsweek” was due to its blurring of the lines between good journalism and bad journalism. Good reporters never tell you what they feel about a story, much less include ideas/views that aren’t attributed to a reputable source. True, news magazines did present analysis, but “Newsweek” often took that as license to write “news stories” in which the facts and opinions were mixed up into the kind of story I didn’t even expect my college journalism students to be writing once we got a ways into the semester.

newsweekfirstI got so ticked off at “Newsweek” on one occasion, I tore out several of the major news stories and went through them with a red pen marking every opinion and every unattributed fact. I sent it to them with an “F” on top and asked which journalism schools the reporters flunked out of before they were hired by the magazine. I never heard back, of course. Now, what “Newsweek” did has become so prevalent that many news consumers don’t even realized they’re often reading the reporter’s notion about the news rather than the news. When I mentioned the lack of straight news in a Facebook status update recently, one friend said “I know what you mean. That’s why I always rely on XYZ,” whereupon she mentioned one of the most biased news personalities in the business.

So, I lament the loss of “Newsweek’s” print edition along with everything else that used to be considered standard, solid journalism before the “happy news” and it’s foul cousin, “My uninformed view is just as valid as the expert’s informed view” kind of reporting took over.

Now, if you want facts, you’ve got to look farther and farther to find them. Rest in peace, “Newsweek.”

Malcolm

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6 responses

  1. Not all online journalism is bad. Don’t judge all news sites because you don’t like a handful of them. Yes, most have a bias to the right or to the left. But people have a bias to the right or to the left, and people are going to read things that hold the same values they do. It doesn’t mean the writing is schlock. I’ll take the “opinions” offered at the Huffington Post any day over the “hard news” at Fox, for example.

    • Yes, there is good online news. I read the Huffington Post and avoid Fox. I also avoid CNN because, all though I agree with it more than Fox, it is liberally biased. The trouble with people reading sites that coincide with their values, is that they’re often getting analysis/opinion they like rather that the facts. Then they repeat those “facts” on Facebook as though they’re the truth rather than somebody’s view of the truth. Case in point: many outlets ignored or downplayed the recent Portland, Oregon mall shooting because the shooter was stopped by an armed citizen in the mall. This fact didn’t play well with reporters who like to claim every gun is bad. So, they censored out this news because it didn’t meed with their agenda.

  2. Yep – confirmation bias – our tendency to seek out opinions and sources we already know we’ll agree with, and avoid those we know we won’t. I actively search around for unbiased news, sometimes relying on sources out of the country. I figure the truth must be somewhere in the middle of the multiple sources I read.