U.S. News Looks To Web For Salvation

Number three newsweekly U.S. News & World Report isn’t giving up on print (yet) but it is banking mighty heavily on the internet. The magazine laid off 10 staffers last week, including two on maternity leave, top political correspondent Roger Simon and chief congressional correspondent Terrence Samuel. [Disclosure: I was a contributor to the magazine’s Election 2004 coverage.] At the same time, Harry Jaffe reports, owner Mort Zuckerman has invested more than $2 million in the online side and hired web producers.
“The magazine’s formula on the journalistic front is more words for more platforms from fewer writers,” writes Jaffe. The web operation is more about extending the brand based on its “best of” ratings and less about the magazine itself. A new health site debuts next week with ratings of hospitals, health care plans and medical info. Editor Brian Duffy’s take? “We don’t want to deliver warmed-over news every week. We’re making an aggressive step to say we’re not doing that by doing things people are not doing.” He calls the web “a growth business” and “exploding.”
I have to admit, though, I have no idea what to call its print edition other than increasingly superfluous, which is a real shame. Could they make a go of it as primarily online with special print issues? I can see a business model for it but a reason for it is another thing entirely. I’m not writing it off yet, though. That mistake has been made a few times. (via Romenesko)

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