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A Different Kind of Deep Dive: Newsweek’s Return to Print… The Mr. Magazine™ Interview with Newsweek’s Editor in Chief Jim Impoco

December 6, 2013

Like A Phoenix Rising From The Ashes, Newsweek In Print Is Coming Back…And Ready To Take On The Role Of Feeding America’s Hunger For Deeper Content And More In-Depth Reporting. Mr Magazine™ Talks With Editor, Jim Impoco About The Magazine’s Rebirth in Print

“One of the results of the incredible amount of information you get online for free is that there is a ton of commodity news. There’s a lot of very, very shallow news reporting. People are looking for much deeper dives, for much more context.”
-Jim Impoco

newsweekThe news about the return of Newsweek to print spread like wild fire. The media world, social and otherwise, lit up like a Christmas tree heralding the news of the return of the 80- plus-year-old magazine. The #lastprintissue is soon to be something from the past. The #firstprintreturn issue will soon arrive at a newsstand or mailbox near you.

However, this Newsweek, is not going to be the Newsweek of the past. It is going to be a magazine that will make its own news and create its own weather. “There is a lot of very, very shallow news reports,” Jim Impoco told me in a phone interview. “People are looking for much deeper dives, for much more context.”

jim impocoClick below to listen to Mr. Impoco’s answer to me regarding this deeper hunger for much more context in today’s news world.


This “deeper dive” is going to be the anchor of the new Newsweek that is going to go after customers who count rather than counting customers. It is going to utilize a different business model than that used for years in America: never sell the magazine for less than what it cost to produce it.

As with every Mr. Magazine™ Interview, first are the sound-bites followed by the lightly edited transcript of the interview.

First the sound-bites:

On whether we can have “news” and “weekly” in today’s world: I think that the two most successful magazines in print right now are “The Week” and “The Economist.” And both are newsweeklies.

On the public’s hunger for deeper news stories: One of the results of the incredible amount of information you get online for free is that there is a ton of commodity news. There’s a lot of very, very shallow news reporting. People are looking for much deeper dives, for much more context.

On the new business model of customers who count, rather than counting customers: We are not going to use the old Newsweek magazine industry model of selling the magazine product at less than it costs to produce it.

On what keeps him up at night: Growing revenue as fast as we need to so that we can spend even more money gathering news.

And now for the lightly edited transcript of Mr. Magazine’s™ interview with Jim Impoco, Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek.

Samir Husni: Can we have “news” and “weekly” at the same time anymore?

Jim Impoco: I think that the two most successful magazines in print right now are “The Week” and “The Economist.” And both are newsweeklies. “The New Yorker” is a weekly and it does quite well. So, yes I think we can; I don’t think that’s an issue.

Newsweek does not mean we are going to summarize the events of the past seven days. Sometimes we’re going to make our own news and create our own weather.

Samir Husni: One of the things that struck me when I read the interview in The New York Times was that you want to be creating news, like you just said, make your own weather. Is there a public hunger for things like that today?

newsweek1Jim Impoco: Huge public hunger. One of the results of the incredible amount of information you get online for free is that there is a ton of commodity news. There’s a lot of very, very shallow news reports. People are looking for much deeper dives, for much more context.

And when I say that we need to create our own weather, I mean that includes being as topical as possible. To give you an example, we broke the news about the contractor that botched healthcare.gov. And frankly I was quite shocked that no one else had taken on that story. I mean, the glitches with Obamacare were such big news for weeks and weeks that nobody bothered to look at the actual company that created this. But we did and it turns out that it has a lot of questions about it swirling around.

So there’s one example of just not piling onto the news like everyone else is, but basically just figuring out how to advance the ball on a big news story.

Samir Husni: The new business model that you are going to follow is more about customers who count than counting customers and maybe a higher subscription price?

Jim Impoco: Yes, that’s true. We are not going to use the old Newsweek magazine industry model of selling the magazine product at less than it costs to produce it.

Samir Husni: Do you think after this period of uncertainty, such as with “The Daily Beast” and with what happened to the brand; how difficult do you think is the challenge of bringing the magazine back to life?

Jim Impoco: I don’t think it’ll be that difficult at all. I think we’re already doing it. We have a magazine; we have an e-magazine and I think it’s quite good and media critics seem to agree.

Samir Husni: What keeps Jim up at night?

Jim Impoco: Growing revenue as fast as we need to so that we can spend even more money gathering news because trying to do that is not a cheap proposition.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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