Newsweek launched its inaugural issue on February 17, 1933, featuring a speech by Germany’s new chancellor, Adolf Hitler, as well as the election of Franklin Roosevelt. The Washington Post’s parent company acquired the magazine in the 1960’s and Newsweek became a definitive source of news analysis and opinion. It applied a liberal bent to its coverage of politics and war. Those were the days when good content was worth waiting for. Newsweek thrived in the 1960’s, giving coverage to black America and the Civil Rights movement, the counterculture in the arts and on campus, the space program and giving bylines to individual writers and critics. Newsweek was against the war and received awards and circulation gains for that stand (Shufelt, 2007).
In 1983, Newsweek changed its editorial approach, wanting to break out of the traditional news magazine format. The parent company, Washington Post Company, had experienced some major publishing failures, losing $22 million on the Inside Sports magazine. Those responsible for Inside Sports were fired, and a new editor-in-chief, William Broyles, Jr. was hired. Newsweek proposed to be more “adventurous”, and would feature writing by individual writers instead of group journalism (Diamond, 1983).
Newsweek was known as an imitation of Time – with Time launching ten years earlier. Their circulation in 1983 was 4.3 million for Time and 3 million for Newsweek. From their inception, Time was Wall Street Republican and Newsweek supported FDR. But the New Deal pushed Newsweek to the right of Time for a short period (Diamond, 1983).
When the Internet and the flood of news and information in real time came, paid circulation fell from 3.2 million to 1.5 million. Newsweek tried to reinvent itself but the losses in circulation continued. In 2010, Washington Post Co. sold Newsweek to Sidney Harman, the 92 year old co-founder of Harman Kardon for $1 and the assumption of its debt. Newsweek merged wit the Daily Beast, an online publication led by editor-in-chief Tina Brown who assumed the...