Why are Newsweek's supporters so dumb?
Times are rough for the old line media, especially printed media, as people gravitate to low cost online media easily available on a variety of electronic media. Convenient anytime, anyplace, updated frequently and serving niche markets, even the online versions of the paper editions aren't faring well.
Of the newsweeklies, Time Magazine wannabe Newsweek (sometimes sarcastically derided as Newsweak) has suffered steep circulation declines in the past few years. Merged with the online Daily Beast to form an entity called NewsBeast, Newsweek and its parent still struggle financially, losing subscribers and advertisers.
To combat this management hired celebrity editor Tina Brown, formerly of the New Yorker. Initiating a redesign and repositioning of Newsweek has slightly helped; circulation and ad revenue, while still decreasing, have slowed and newsstand sales have actually slightly increased. But newsstand sales are only about 4% of a magazine's circulation so this is relatively insignificant.
But an increase is an increase. And with magazines covers attract, draw in people; interesting or provocative covers increase spur of the moment buyers, increase sales. So perhaps desperation explains Newsweek's latest cover:
President Barack Obama (D) defiantly glaring at the audience, graying hair highlighted halo like. But OMG! No! The holy one has... gasp! at least 3 ½ neck wrinkles and...can it be? The slightest beginnings of a jowl.
But it's the title of the article accompanying Obama's picture that is so eye grabbing--so... disgusting to some but sure to be so...so...affirming to Newsweek's targeted readers: in thick, white all caps brilliantly set against a green background near Obama's clenched right chin line the magazine boldly asks WHY ARE OBAMA'S CRITICS SO DUMB?
Beneath it the author's name in slightly smaller, all bold caps in bright pink: ANDREW SULLIVAN. Completing the white sandwich with the pink filler in the same style smaller caps print: ON THE MAN WITH A PLAN
Want more titillation? Next to Obama's left ear, in still smaller, bold caps we can learn of MRS. SANTORUM'S SURPRISING PAST
Brown's short term desperation to punch up newsstand sales, to set off a short term buzz just might backfire, turning off the remaining middle of the road subscribers without adding new Obama lovers.
If so, it couldn't happen to a more deserving magazine and its editor