News Magazines, The Problem is in the Name

News magazines (Time, US News, Newsweek) have simple outlived their usefulness as a tool for informing and educating. The problem is in the name, none of these magazines are successfully presenting news and informed analysis that isn’t found on the web and typically well before being published in any of the above mentioned titles. It’s like USA Today… more actually USA Yesterday, the speed of bits will always beat that of ink and the ability to aggregate, e.g. link to, many sources will go deeper than 2 columns ever can.

Having recently been dumped by Time, I naturally had great hopes for this week’s much-anticipated makeover of Newsweek. Both surviving newsmags (US News is said to exist still in some form, but no one I know has seen it lately) are in an Internet panic like that affecting newspapers. Newsweek has always been a bit faster on its feet. But judging from its first issue, the new Newsweek is not going to be the instrument of my revenge, alas.

[From Backward Runs 'Newsweek']

News magazines are literally dying away and nothing will save them, but they persist in looking at their business as a print magazine with an attached website, rather than the other way around.

Publishers must stop thinking like content creators and publishers, and more like information services. Providing original content is still necessary but aggregating everyone else’s content by topic is far more important, and then providing metadata (e.g. geotagging, categories/keywords, search enhancement, quality scoring, sentiment) on top of content that is provided programmatically to other services and application developers is one key future strategy.

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