We grew up with very little money and with that little bit of money, our family had a couple of indulgences. We not only had basic cable but had TSN (to watch the World Junior Hockey Championships), we always had a copy of the Star Phoenix delivered every morning to our door and we had a subscription to Newsweek. I probably stopped reading Newsweek in 1993 when I moved out but I still find myself flipping through it once in a while but never buying it, it just isn’t that good anymore.
What happened? Well Paul Wells has the story (which is more than Newsweek has had in it lately)
Certainly, if anyone asked me what happened last week in America or the world, one piece of advice I’d offer is, “For the love of God, don’t look in Newsweek for the answer.” As a kind of bonus, the layout of Newsweek is so awesomely twee and precious, with acres of white space and elegant little button-down twill fonts for the tiny perfect Niles Crane headlines, that if you try to read the thing on paper your eyeballs will physically eject themselves from your cranium and run hiding under the nearest sofa for protection.
It’s not clear who all of this is supposed to impress, but what it’s kind of obviously not supposed to do is tell you what’s going on.
But then, that’s the sophisticated take on weekly newsmagazines, after all, and has been for decades: times are changing, the news business is changing, the internet changed everything, 24-hour news changed everything, readers are busy and sophisticated and they’re a fragmented, frazzled bunch who already know what’s happening within an hour after it happened, and it’s a waste of anyone’s time to actually bring them the news. So the two big American newsweeklies have been circling back on themselves in an enormous super-sophisticated post-post-modern what-does-it-all-mean ball of meta, with Newsweek leaping ahead ofTime in its crisis of faith because Newsweek is smaller than Time, more scared, and because it’s fallen into the hands of a fusty 40-year-old Pulitzer-winning historian, Jon Meacham, who (uh-oh) has decided he’s on a Mission.