Attention Newsweek: You’re Fired!

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…

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8 responses to “Attention Newsweek: You’re Fired!

  1. I’m with you. I love reading books on my Kindle, because it’s portable…like a book. I also have Kindle for PC (which is free from Amazon), so anything I get for the Kindle automatically goes to the PC as well. This could come in handy if I misplaced the Kindle, left it at work, etc. but only in a pinch.
    I do have a suggestion. For $3.90 a week, you could get the Sunday only New York Times.

  2. Steve- it’s sad to see Newsweek biting the dust,,, but nothing lasts forever and it joins the US News & World Report, Saturday Review and so many other publicatioins whose audience or ad revenues died off. If you haven’t read it recently, you might want to try The Economist – it reminds me of the old Far Eastern Economic Review from the 60’s, with good coverage of the US and the World, plus sections on Finance, the.Arts, as well as excellent occassional obituaries. Good hunting for a replacement and Best wishes for the Holidays and 2013, John

    • Hey Jack…been a long time!

      Actually, I had thought about The Economist but their rates are much higher than Newsweek.

      Do you know about the Columbus Day 2013 reunion in DC? Website is at: dcreunion2013.com but not much info yet other than date.

      Since I’ll be retired by then, I may drive up and make a 10-14 day vacation out of it.

  3. Thanks for the heads-up about DC’13, Steve. Do you know if the Reyes brothers, juan Sablones or any of the other members of our class might attend? Maybe we could entice Angel, James Falls or some of the other old bel-Air/Urdineta Village folks that live in this half of the country?. Anyway, have a great Christmas – Jack (…just reread your post from last year on the Xmas lights at Makati corner. I think I remember being told that the vacant bloc there at one time was an aerodrome.)

    • As alums register, I’m sure their names will be posted on the website to spur the “maybes.” I’ve not seen Juan or the Reyes brothers at any reunion. Reyes’ are in Manila so I doubt they’ll show.

  4. Steve- regarding the Washington DC reunion next October, I wonder if Henry Parkman would be interested. Have you ever spoken to him since Manila days? I think he practices law in Atlanta. It would be great if we could get an East Coast group of ’70s together. Best, Jack

    • I’ve not seen Henry at any reunion. But then, our class has not been well represented at these “70s classes” reunions. (The current AISAAM directory shows him in the Atlanta area.)

      • Thanks, Steve- maybe we should suggest a Class of 70 dinner at the Washington reunion and see if anyone is interested. What do you think? Also, have you ever heard of the old colonial city of Antigua in Guatemala? Some expat friends recently visited and said its an attractive place to retire.

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