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Newsweek to halt print publication

October 18, 2012|By Andrew Tangel

Newsweek will print its final edition at the end of this year.

After nearly 80 years of publication, the news magazine will shift to a digital-only format, available online and on tablet computers, Editor in Chief Tina Brown said on the magazine's website Thursday morning. Its last printed edition will be the Dec. 31 issue.

"We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it," Brown said. "We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism -- that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution."

The digital-only publication, supported by paid subscriptions and dubbed Newsweek Global, will be aimed at a "highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context," Brown said. 

Newsweek's announcement marks a significant transition for the magazine, which was founded in 1933 and has been undergoing its own identity crisis and financial turmoil in recent years. Its problems are emblematic of the disruptions faced broadly by the print media industry, as readers shift online and away from the most valuable advertising.

In 2010, Newsweek and the Daily Beast announced they would merge, jointly owned by Sidney Harman, an audio equipment magnate who died last year, and IAC, the media and advertising company run by Barry Diller, its chairman and senior executive.

Brown cited a Pew Research Center report that found 39% of Americans get their news from an online source.

"In our judgment, we have reached a tipping point at which we can most efficiently and effectively reach our readers in all-digital format," she wrote. "This was not the case just two years ago. It will increasingly be the case in the years ahead."

Brown said the shift would entail "staff reductions," though she didn't elaborate.

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