News & Politics

“Newsweek” Prepares for Its Final Issue

The venerable weekly reportedly cut 65 staffers in its move to an all-digital format in 2013.

The remaining reporters and editors at
Newsweek and the Daily Beast are preparing the weekly magazine’s final edition, a year-end
double issue scheduled to hit the stands the last week of 2012.

And then it will be over.
Newsweek will be no more. The weekly magazine, founded as
News Week in 1933, will cease publication.

Tina Brown, founder and editor of the hybrid
Newsweek/Daily Beast announced in October that she would quit publishing the print magazine.
On Friday Brown sent out notices and called staffers who would no longer be needed,
as she takes the news operation all digital.

One of her calls went to
Robin Givhan, widely considered to be the best fashion critic in the business and the only one
to receive a Pulitzer Prize. Givhan was one of a reported 65 of 270 staffers who were
associated primarily with the print magazine.

The damage at
Newsweek will essentially wipe out its storied Washington bureau, which produced some of the
most renowned journalists of our time, including—to name a few—
Ben Bradlee,
Evan Thomas,
David Martin,
Gloria Borger,
Howard Fineman,
Michael Isikoff, and
Tom DeFrank.

Eleanor Clift, perhaps the last of the vaunted reporting crew still at her post.

“My status is unchanged,” Clift wrote to
The Washingtonian. “I remain a contributor to
Newsweek/Daily Beast.”

Newsweek’s descent to oblivion was foretold when Post Company chairman
Donald Graham sold it in 2010. Graham’s father, Phil, bought it in 1961 and grew it into a powerful,
weekly dose of news and commentary that often defined the American and global zeitgeist.
Graham dumped
Newsweek because he couldn’t figure out how to stem mounting losses.

Eleanor Clift’s relationship to
Newsweek describes the new normal at many news organizations. She will add TV gigs on the
McLaughlin Group and MSNBC to her contributor status at
Newsweek. Salaried staff jobs are more rare. Contributors, often paid on contract or by the
piece, are more and more common.

If that’s the case at
Newsweek/Daily Beast once it goes all digital in 2013, we are likely to continue seeing the
bylines of
James Warren,
Peter Beinart, and
Michael Tomasky as contributors.

Howie Kurtz, the perennially prolific “bureau chief,” will lead the page as a well-paid staffer.

Andrew Sullivan, who writes and runs the Dish, is most likely in the same boat.

As for the last double issue, expect a reprise and a final victory lap through
Newsweek’s best issues. Editors asked Isikoff, who broke the news about Bill Clinton’s liaison
with Monica Lewinsky for
Newsweek, to write an essay for the final issue. Isikoff is now the investigative reporter
for NBC. Clift is writing a piece on
Newsweek’s coverage of the women’s movement.

“There will be retrospective pieces on
Newsweek’s pioneering coverage of civil rights and gay rights,” Clift says, “and a look back
at some of the most memorable covers, like Magic Johnson announcing he had AIDS, with
the cover line: “Even Me.”

And then even
Newsweek will cease to be.

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