Newsweek will this morning unveil a redesigned magazine and Web site with a “more is more” approach—and a shift away from the stripped-down, bloggy immediacy that has marked the resigns of countless other magazines.
“Some people in our business believe print should emulate the Internet, filling pages with short, Weblike bites of information,” writes editor Jon Meacham in his editor’s note. “We disagree. There is a simple idea behind the changes in the issue of Newsweek you are holding: we are betting that you want to read more, not less.”
“Other media outlets believe you just want things quick and easy,” Meacham continues. “We think you will make the time to read pieces that repay the effort.
Newsweek‘s redesign comes six months after Time executed a historic redesign and three months before Newsweek celebrates its 75th anniversary in January.
Meacham calls the print redesign—led by Amid Capeci with industry legend Roger Black serving as a consultant—more of a “refinement than a revolution.” Among the changes: a cleaner visual presentation that “gives our writers more words” and more space for photography; a weekly column alternating among “Modern Family," "Food & Drink," “Geek Culture” and “Personal Finance”; and, like Time magazine’s much-ballyhooed redesign, a keener ear for “organic conversation” with readers through e-mails, letters and online commentary.
Newsweek.com’s redesign includes 14 new blogs, video—including a weekly video dispatch from Meacham himself—and expanded health coverage. The sites averages about seven million unique visitors a month, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.
“Redesigns can be unsettling, and we will no doubt be making adjustments in the coming weeks and months, both here and online,” Meacham writes. “But overall, we like what we see—and we think you will, too. You are, after all, our only focus group.”
There is, perhaps, another focus group for Newsweek—and for that matter, the entire newsweekly category: Madison Avenue. Through June, Newsweek was down 4.9 percent in ad pages, according Publishers Information Bureau estimates, and flat ($223.6 million) in advertising revenue. Those numbers are better than those of Newsweek’s chief rival, Time. Through June, Time slipped 2.4 percent in ad pages when compared to the same period in 2006, and was down nearly 15 percent in ad revenue to $252 million. The Week, U.S. News and World Report and the Economist each reported double-digit ad revenue gains during the first half of the year.