Just recently an article was brought to our attention that proves that the print medium is, in fact, being reduced by the digital format. In the article, printed by numerous outlets including Yahoo News, the Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, and Forbes, it is clearly stated that Newsweek, a publication that has been available in the printed format for almost 80 years (since 1933), will be going exclusively digital starting January 1, 2013.
While this may come as no shock to some, it kind of set us back a bit, and we really don’t know WHY. We always assumed that newsweeklies (Newsweek, Time, The Week, and The Economist), much like the daily newspaper, would ALWAYS be there. It’s kind of like the landline telephone in a home – we always had a landline growing up, it’s just expected to be there. The numbers, however, seem to prove otherwise.
According to a Pew Research Center report, the percentage of Americans who say they have read news (even just a headline) on a social media platform in the past 24 hours has grown from 9% to 19% since 2010. The same report cites that the percentage of Americans who have read a print magazine in the last 24 hours has shrunk from 23% to 17% over the last 10 years. While print media consumption has declined at a much slower pace than the consumption of digital media has grown, it still reinforces the fact that people are shifting the nature of their news sources. This may actually prove beneficial to Newsweek, as the content that is published may be closer to real-time, with breaking news being received minutes after it’s available, rather than more of a recap of the news.
Part of this shift, we believe, can be attributed to the “24-hour news cycle.” No longer do we need to wait until the morning news to know what transpired in our community/world from the previous evening’s news. Now the information can be accessed at will or even pushed to your device. The constant influx of information has made us not only accept this change in format (print to digital), but it makes us actively CRAVE it. How many people go to sleep with their phones next to their beds, within easy reach should the slightest little beep, ding, or chime sound? How many people check their phone or their social media accounts first thing in the morning, last thing at night before bed, and at all hours in between?
To bring this full circle, Newsweek is not the first, nor will it be the last, to change its format of news presentation. Tablets, notebooks, and smartphones all allow for real-time reception and consumption of news. As fast as it happens, it’s available to the world. While it’s an adjustment, the ability of social media and digital information to move in seconds is changing the way that we as news consumers choose to receive news and interact with the world around us.