Keith Kelly at The New York Post reports that news mag U.S. News and World Report will be increasing its frequency of ‘Best Of’ issues-stretching, for example, ‘Best Hospitals’ to ‘Best Kids Hospitals’ for the September 3 issue.
Kelly notes that a source concedes the magazine is "effectively tossing in the towel on any plan to try to compete with Time and Newsweek on news."
U.S. News president Bill Holiber told Folio: basically the same thing two years ago when it announced a strategic shift away from print to focus more on its Web business, essentially letting Time and Newsweek fight over the mass newsweekly market themselves:
"At times it may come across as being not the most exciting product, but it’s a very well-thought-out, information-driven product. As we move in this direction, I think you’ll see more information on the page. I think Time and Newsweek are battling it out, trying to be all things to all people. They want to be big-very, very big. We’ve found there’s a certain type of consumer we attract, and that’s who we’re focusing on: "Give me the facts, I’ll decide."
And, after all, that might not be such a bad thing, and maybe Time and Newsweek should consider competing with U.S. News as it embarks on its new content mission, since the newsweeklies are constantly fending off the ‘news-as-commodity’ specter. Kelly reports that the magazine will be publishing product-oriented ‘Best of’ issues; a ‘Best Cars’ issue is in the works. "We’ll probably look at consumer products," editor Brian Kelly told the other Kelly. Look out Consumer Reports.