While we sat about ruminating over how print media is emulating the Web,Newsweek was busy redesigning its magazine to give readers something different.
And instead of inserting snappy sound bytes and intriguing blog-like entries, Newsweek bets that readers want to read more, not less. Forget short attention spans; Newsweek is confident its readers will take the time to read more comprehensive articles.
The redesign, dubbed a “refinement" rather than a "revolution,” includes a cleaner visual presentation that gives more space to more words and photography; a weekly column that alternates among “Modern Family," "Food & Drink," “Geek Culture” and “Personal Finance”; and, like rival Time, more “organic conversation” with readers via e-mail, letters and online commentary.
The refinement isn't limited to print, but includes 14 new blogs, video — including a weekly video dispatch — and expanded health coverage.
In a world where the glare of the printed word is waning in the shadow of the Web, only time will tell whose redesign will yield a successful outcome, assuming that there is just one winner.
Perhaps the lesson here isn't that print must follow the Web, but that print must continually innovate itself. Print will be dead when it stops trying to compete with the Web. But learning how to co-exist is key; the two forces simply need to figure out how to complement one another and address users' needs accordingly.
So here's to Newsweek and other magazines working to refine, revolutionize and redesign their pages, whether in print or on the Web.