U.S. News & World Report is not totally dead—“only” the printed version of the once powerful weekly magazine will soon disappear. U.S. News & World Report had historically been the #3 newsweekly to Time and Newsweek, which have their own challenges. U.S.News had been in decline since changing from weekly to a bi-weekly publication in June 2008, and then to monthly later that same year. Last Friday November 5, it was announced in an internal memo to their staff that “The December issue would our last print monthly sent to subscribers”. The print version will be gone, except for guidebooks and single topic issues available on newsstands. “Print was the form that served a purpose. And for us, it doesn’t anymore”, said Brian Kelly, Editor.
This comes on the heels of a recent comment from New York Times Chairman and Publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who recently said, "We will stop printing the New York Times sometime in the future, date TBD." Obviously, that comment rattled their own staff and the entire industry. A corollary question is whether Time and Newsweek, both with their own business issues, can last in printed form for much longer, and what this means for the printed news business(magazines and newspapers) in general.
The demise of daily newspapers and news magazines is not a surprise, just a continuation of a trend. The U.S. News circulation was 1.1 million vs. 2 million in 2005. Furthermore, the circulations of newsweekly leaders, Newsweek and Time have been declining as well. Newsweek circulation, on the heels of its sale for $1 to Sidney Harmon earlier this year, is now 1.6 million, half of its 3.2 million circulation 5 years ago. Meanwhile, Time has declined to 3 million circulation from 4 million just 5 years ago.
The demise of famous print titles is not new. As with Life and Look, printed magazines do not necessarily last forever. Nevertheless, U.S. News & World Report, whose roots extend back to 1933 when the United States Report was founded, had been an important publication, a cornerstone of newsweeklies. It is another example that change is the status quo in the media world. Nowhere is change more dramatic than in the decline of print vehicles. The public’s insatiable appetite for 24/7 news favors media that deliver real time news, not a recap of what happened yesterday or last week. Nonetheless, we will miss the printed U.S. News & World Report