Newsweek recently announced it will cease distribution of its print magazine at the end of 2012, opting instead for a single online and tablet-oriented publication.
Newsweek’s decision to shift to a strictly electronic edition reflects rapid ongoing changes in the news industry. It also reveals both opportunities and challenges for nonprofits seeking media coverage.
As more prominent national media outlets struggle to continue in their traditional venues, one must seek out more accessible targets for coverage. As Newsweek’s change would indicate, there are fewer national outlets every day, and those who remain carry a broader focus with fewer resources. Ad Age notes that Newsweek itself is reducing staff and rolling its various versions into one global edition.
Despite these limitations, the change in the news landscape illuminated by Newsweek’s announcement also presents opportunities for those seeking coverage for their issues or organizations. As online outlets spread, there are more niches and seemingly unlimited space to discuss a range of topics.
As organizations shift their media focus to online outlets, they must be aware that timeliness is a major factor in coverage. Ad Age points out that Newsweek’s “format proved difficult to adapt to an increasingly real-time world of news.” This seems to indicate that when your organization or its issues become relevant to the public discourse, the opportunity should be seized quickly.
While Newsweek’s decision could be received as a warning sign, the situation for national print outlets may not be quite as dire. Newsweek had long been struggling with declines in circulation and advertising; however, its main competitor, Time, has no plans to stop its print version.