Monday, March 7, 2011

The New Tina Brown Newsweek: More Week, Less News?

Lord knows (or at least regular readers of this blog know), I'm a big supporter of Tina Brown's takeover of Newsweek. As I've written elsewhere, if anyone can make a go of Newsweek, which has lurched from problem to salvation to problem over the past decade, it's Tina Brown, who knows print and online, clearly believes in both, and has been successful at both (with the exception of Talk, of course).

So, note the Tina Brownification of the cover, which was revealed this past week:

  • There's nothing newsweekly (or Newsweekly, either) about the cover text, by which I mean it suggests feature articles, not weekly news reports. All of the cover-blurbed articles look like they could appear on the cover of Vogue or The Atlantic or Vanity Fair. Considering the moribund state of newsweeklies, that's probably a good move.
  • No fewer than four article authors are listed on the cover. Tina Brown is known for using star writers to sell her publications. She's been criticized for being somewhat ruthless in her use of them and then disposal of them when they no longer deliver, but I don't think you can claim that she doesn't know what she's doing. 
  • Keep the logo, which is good. No need to scare the loyal Newsweek readers.
  • Celebrity. On the cover. Sells magazines.

This new issue reportedly goes on sale today, so I haven't yet picked up a copy. But I will, because I am interested in what else has been changed in this new Tina Brown era. One of its biggest tests will be if it draws in the advertising; the magazine had become very anemic in ads and total page count.

So, Ms. Brown: We await the rollout.

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