This week the new Newsweek has been a hot conversation on the CASE CUE (university editors listserve). A few weeks back Newsweek introduced a new look and new approach to their magazine.
In the May 16th issue editor Jon Meecham (who spoke at Gettysburg last year) described the changes:
And so the magazine you are holding now—the first issue of a reinvented and rethought NEWSWEEK—represents our best effort to bring you original reporting, provocative (but not partisan) arguments and unique voices. We know you know what the news is. We are not pretending to be your guide through the chaos of the Information Age. If you are like us, you do not need, or want, a single such Sherpa. What we can offer you is the benefit of careful work discovering new facts and prompting unexpected thought.
The chief casualty is the straightforward news piece and news written with a few (hard-won, to be sure) new details that does not move us significantly past what we already know. Will we cover breaking news? Yes, we will, but with a rigorous standard in mind: Are we truly adding to the conversation? When violence erupts in the Middle East, are we saying something original about it? Are our photographs and design values exceptional? If the answers are yes, then we are in business.
As a long time Newsweek reader I was impressed at the new approach and one particular line stuck out for me. “Are we truly adding to the conversation?” They truly get it. I don’t want the hardcore news I can get that up to the minute on the web from a weekly magazine. Can they give me value added? Can they make me think? Can they bring a different perspective that I haven’t thought about before? Can they offer me a fresh idea?
Are we seeing the future of alumni magazines? Maybe not this year or next but in 10-15-20 years when this generation is in their mid 40’s and comfortable with technology and news on the web. Could this be the future for higher ed alumni magazines?