Peter Preston looks into the problems faced by weekly US news magazine Newsweek, which was put up for sale by its owners the Washington Post Co. last week, and asks if news magazines need to rethink their remit:
America is a huge, scattered country. Before mass television, before satellite printing and long before the internet, it needed news magazines to set a national agenda and provide a common framework of fact and perception. It needed Time and then its slightly more liberal competitor, Newsweek.
But now the national agenda rasps away on cable 24/7. Now the facts are familiar and the perceptions old hat by the time they drop on the mat. Now readers don’t want to be told what’s happened in the past seven days, but how it fits and what to think about it. They need analysis and context, in short: not old, broken news. They need The Economist.