I‘ve had a relationship with Newsweek magazine longer than I’ve known my husband, longer in fact than with nearly anyone I know, save my family.
I bought a subscription my freshman year in college and looked forward to its delivery each week, rolled up in my narrow mailbox at the post office. Some years ago, I landed an essay in the magazine’s My Turn column, setting off a firestorm of responses that garnered more mail than nearly any other essay in the history of the feature. (Note to the body mod community, don’t bother excoriating me. Been there, done that.)
And now this venerable weekly is up for sale, another casualty of the web. I feel especially guilty because a few days before I read the news of its sale, I’d decided not to renew our subscription. Not because I’m a convert to digital dailies but because I didn’t like the redesigned Newsweek — an eleventh-hour refashion of the magazine into a compendium of opinion pieces and themed articles. Alas, I had a lot of company.
News in a nanosecond is now rules the globe. News comes time stamped by the minute. We know what’s happening while it’s happening. We get tweeted and texted and blogged in less time than it takes to skim a masthead. Long gone are the days when a college freshman eagerly anticipated her first magazine subscription, putting off homework for just a bit while she caught up on the world both near and far.
This is scary news. But I am just as “guilty” as you are.
I hate to admit this, but I ended up cancelling our newspaper subs, too, as we don’t have as much time to read the papers, especially in the summer. And once the papers started cutting back, laying off, and trimming down, the content became a lot less interesting to us. Many of the good writers/journalists were let go, just for starters …. I really don’t like the Sunday Freep anymore. It looks like a comic book.
Ditto my falling out of love with magazines. I can’t tell you how MANY we have piling up around the house, but don’t get around to reading. I have some old favorites, but we’ve outgrown so many, especially those whose quality has dwindled in recent years. I am tied of reading about sex and celebrities, for starters, and even the so-called “news” magazines are focusing more on that these days.
The fashion magazines are ridiculous and/or too young for me. (They peddle crap I don’t need, and usually make me feel worse about myself by the time I’ve finished looking at them.) The lifestyle magazines just keep repeating the same old same old. (I do like O magazine — something different, good writing.)
The Internet competes for our time now, along with real life. What a shame. As someone who writes for newspapers and magazines, I should be kicking and screaming — but I tried that when this downturn began, and it did no good. Like everyone else, I’ve given up. But I still read books, real books, and refuse to give THOSE up.
Sorry for the rant. See what you started?
Oh Cindy, It’s not a rant. You touch on salient, valid points. We still read magazines here. I love MORE and of course I’m loyal to Good Housekeeping since they have published two articles and have two more under consideration. What will the written world look like in a decade????