Newsweek Rises from the Ashes
Despite announcing the end of a 79-year run with the cover line #LASTPRINTISSUE on December 31, 2012, Newsweek defiantly returned to newsstands in March 2014. The weekly emerged under the new ownership of International Business Times and with Jim Impoco as editor-in-chief.
Impoco is an industry veteran, having held positions at Thomson Reuters, The New York Times, and Condé Nast Portfolio. Under his leadership, Newsweek has begun to work its way back into relevance by updating its digital formats and advertising, and with aims of returning to the hearty form of journalism it was known for under The Washington Post Company. After the Post sold Newsweek to billionaire Sidney Harman for $1 in 2010, the magazine was eventually merged with The Daily Beast, and the legendary Tina Brown took over as editor-in-chief. Any attempts to develop synergy between the two brands proved elusive to Brown.
Now Impocco is tasked with giving the aged title new life in the digital age. "If you're asking me, we're doing more with less," says Impoco. "We've already doubled our traffic since we got it from Tina seven, eight months ago." Impoco ascribes this success to an improved digital presence, redesigned web, and strengthening of the Newsweek brand following its return to print. "We see it as a brand extension and marketing to a certain extent... We're not marketing the print product, but we get a couple hundred subscribers each week. We're reinvesting revenue back into the brand to build it up."
Impoco and his staff are also open experimenting in digital, especially with native ads and sponsored content. "The plan is to start hiring a bunch of mostly web-only writers and producers, so that roughly by the end of next quarter we double or triple our output."
Additionally, Newsweek has outsourced part of the creation of its native app, tasking a team at Apple with its creation on the iPhone and handling the Android app itself. "I do not think [interactive content] is just a phase, I think it's complete value added. It's what makes digital content so exciting," says Impoco. With content originating at home and from Newsweek's bureau in London, the magazine can produce enough quality material to fill national and international editions, while working to add more interactive content once the apps get off the ground.