It is the content and not the frequency…June 11, 2008
The news about U.S. News & World Report cutting its frequency next year to 26 times a year brought the prophets of doom and gloom from their hideaways to spread yet another prophecy of “Print is Dead” and “We told you so.” The funny thing is those folks have such short memories and can’t seem to recall their own predictions in 1985 about the end of the newsweeklies because of a thing called CNN, and later because of another thing called the internet.
It is good to hear from the folks at U.S. News and World Report that the terms news and weekly are now an oxymoron. I have been saying that for at least five years now, in fact my actual quote was more directed to the terms “news and paper” as being an oxymoron. But that does not mean we are not going to have daily papers or weekly magazines. All what it means is that news will no longer be the domain of paper, whether it is daily or weekly. I was amazed to learn on a recent trip to The Netherlands that they do not call their “newspapers” newspapers, but rather dailies. So the problem of being an oxymoron does not exist over there. As I have always said, the problem is not what frequency you decide upon, but rather what content are you going to provide. Try to convince The Week or The Economist or Time that there is no room for magazines that deal with newsy and important issues on a weekly basis. Some cover the issues with a “nugget” style and some provide you with the entire “breast of chicken.”
A quick look at the content of U.S. News & World Report shows that neither the U.S. News or the World Reports are there, in force, anymore…it feels that the great DNA of the two combined magazines of days past has disappeared. Maybe a better name for the new product should be U.S. Consumer & Reports since, after all, it seems like what they are trying to do is, in fact, create another Consumer Reports magazine, but this time one that is published every other week.
It is a sad day for a magazine that once was considered the “academic” of all news weeklies to exit the weekly scene completely, but it is a sadder day when we butcher a DNA and put the blame on something else. Killing the magazine and starting a new one with a new name U.S. Reports will be much more appreciated from both the traditional readers of the magazine and those who may pick up the magazine under the new name.