Idle Chatter - Striking A Balance

Jay Heath May 1, 2013 0 Comment(s)
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Newsweek published its final print issue in December, completing a shift to an online-only format that had effectively been underway since the ailing 80-year-old magazine merged with the website The Daily Beast in 2010. The editors did their best to put a positive spin on the “transition,” couching it as a proactive move that would allow them to better meet the needs of today’s readers, but the stark truth is that digital publishing is simply a more efficient and cost-effective way to deliver the kind of breaking news and in-depth reportage that form the magazine’s bedrock content.

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Reading Newsweek’s valedictory issue put me in a wistful frame of mind, not only because I’ve been a subscriber since the mid ’90s, but also because I remain an unrepentant lover of the print medium. Tablets, iPhones, and the like are fine for looking up weather information and football scores, but for me (and, I suspect, a lot of you), the act of turning real, paper magazine pages is satisfying in a way that tapping a cold, hard, glass viewing pane will never be.

Fortunately, Newsweek’s experience is in no way a harbinger of things to come here at VETTE. As a niche publication with a narrow focus, we can maintain our quality of coverage using far fewer financial and human resources than can a weekly news magazine with an international reach. Simply put, there are no Corvettes in Somalia. Generating a compelling print edition each month remains our primary objective, and I fully expect that to continue into the foreseeable future.

That’s not to suggest that we’ve turned our back on the web. I’m happy to report that, after a languorous ramp-up period, our digital offerings are finally being infused with the kind of money and manpower needed to distinguish them in this ultra-competitive arena. The payoff should be apparent in the months ahead, as we roll out more title-specific videos, web-exclusive articles, and other new ways of connecting with our audience. Far from replacing the printed VETTE, these features will serve to enrich and enhance the traditional reading experience.

Consider the photo contest we’re currently conducting in partnership with Mantic Performance Clutches. This interactive promotion invites you to upload a photo of your late-model Vette for consideration, then compare that photo with other entrants’ submissions online. (You can find all the details in this month’s “Currents.”) That, after all, is the chief advantage of working in cyberspace: It allows our readers and staff members to engage with one another in previously unimagined ways.

So there you have it: a spirited, if qualified, defense of print publishing, coupled with an admission of the medium’s limitations. For while I wish Newsweek the best in its new, paperless role, I don’t plan on joining it anytime soon.

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