I’ve been a Newsweek subscriber for over 30 years. So I was surprised and disappointed when it was announced that there will only be an online subscription option after December 31. Although my current subscription runs through January 2014, I’ll be canceling it at the end of this month because I’ve no interest in an online subscription.
Not that I have a problem with the online world….
My online pedigree goes back almost 30 years. In 1985, I was online before online was cool. Or common. I owned a Commodore 128 (as in 128K RAM) with a 2.4K “high speed” modem. (That’s right, 2.5K was high speed back then.)
I subscribed to an online service for Commodore users called Q-Link. Most of the “action” was on “bulletin boards” where folks had “discussions.” You could download programs, but at 2.4K even a small file took at least 30 minutes. Q-Link ended when founder Steve Case decided there would be more money in an online service for PCs after they became achieved sound and color. And that was how America On-Line came to be…
Since Commodore was limited to 128K, I joined the PC crowd and acquired a high end machine. It boasted 256K RAM, not one but two 5.25-inch floppy disc drives and a huge 10 Meg hard drive. I had a “turbo” button that increased processor speed from 8 MHz to 12 MHz.
But I never debased myself by joining AOL. I went with Delphi (where I was the assistant host for the Travel bulletin board), then to Prodigy and EarthLink. These were all dial-up and I followed the modem speeds up: 14.4, 28.8, and finally 56 before going to broadband.
Besides writing this blog, I’m webmaster for my Manila high school alumni website, the separate website for the schools Classes of 45-55, and three personal websites. So I’m very much “connected.”
During lunch, I surf CNN and all the major state newspapers. But I have no interest in an online subscription to a news magazine.
It’s one thing to read short news stories online. But a news magazine isn’t about short news stories. Its forte is long, analytical stories. I’ve no interest in reading those online. I want to hold the magazine in my hand.
Newsweek blames the Internet for ending its print version, that it has lost readership to online journalism. Yes, it has lost a huge chunk of its readers. Almost 50% from not too many years ago.
But I do not think it’s largely because of the Internet. An article I read (online) stated that there are magazines doing well. That if Newsweek was unable to be profitable in print that is because of something other than the Internet.
And I’m inclined to believe that. When Tina Brown took over at Newsweek, I noticed a makeover which seemed to emphasize visuals. I had to wonder whether substance would take a backseat to form.
When Newsweek allowed Niall Ferguson to publish a factually challenged diatribe against Obama last August, I began thinking that maybe it was time to find another news magazine. (For a point by point critique of Ferguson’s intellectual masturbation, read this.) When the “digital only” announcement was made in October, I decided to take a refund for the remainder of my subscription rather than go online.
I’ve not decided what will replace Newsweek. Or whether I’ll replace it. I’m open to suggestions…