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Friday, May 27, 2005

The Net & The Future Of Magazines

(Via OJR) The magazine world has seen the future of print - and it's still print. While Newsweek magazine has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons - the magazine should be praised on a much larger scale for reinventing itself. The scope of Newsweek.com,the online home to Newsweek that has included everything from daily breaking news to video blogs from correspondents across the world to podcasts of the Newsweek On Air online radio show.The transformation of Newsweek is timely, as the major U.S. newsweeklies are experiencing a decline in print readership similar to that of major newspapers. According to numbers collected by the State of the News Media 2005,the big three newsweeklies - Time, Newsweek and U.S. News - have lost 1 million readers in combined circulation over the past 16 years. But the magazine business as a whole remains relatively healthy because of the rise of so many niche publications and the staying power of glossy entertainment news. In fact, magazines were pioneers in niche content before cable TV and the Internet came along and usurped them with the flashy video of the former and the interactive communities of the latter.
"TV has managed to segment audiences into the same demographic/psychographic buckets that once were the sole purchase of magazine land," says John Battelle and adds,"PVRs [personal video recorders] only accelerate this trend, adding the convenience of search and storage to the magazine rack concept.Few experts would predict that print magazines will become dinosaurs anytime soon.The spate of early online-only magazines has largely subsided, with Salon and Slate still standing as survivors but not as the vanguard to what comes next. Innovation in long-form magazine journalism online is coming from the edges, in the shape of thoughtful audio podcasts, on-the-scene video blogs and in the plethora of thoughtful essays on Weblogs maintained in academic and professional realms. The "power of many" means that in-depth magazine pieces that once took a reporter months to amass might one day be accomplished by an online community that has a strong interest in the subject - with a reporter or editor prodding them on.

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