Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Newest Media Cuts: Newsweek

Just like every other set of media layoffs/cutbacks, these aren’t surprising, which doesn’t make them any less unpleasant: Newsweek will be making its second round of cuts in less than a year.

It’s hard to see how the Washington Post Co. (WPO), the magazine’s owner, could do anything else. Newsweek loses money, and ad revenue at the magazine has been in free-fall throughout the year: Down 13 percent in Q3, 21 percent in Q2 and 15 percent in Q1. The Wall Street Journal has details:

Newsweek magazine is planning staff cuts as part of a major makeover that is likely to result in a slimmer publication with fewer subscribers and more photos and opinion inside its pages, according to people close to the magazine.

The Washington Post Co. business is expected to outline the cuts Thursday in two companywide meetings. They will come from an extension of voluntary buyouts offered in the spring, when Newsweek shed 111 jobs.”

Also on tap: A move to reduce the magazine’s circulation, which is supposed to make its remaining readers more appealing to advertisers, and a continued effort to “focus…less on costly news gathering than on driving discussion of the day’s issues.”

That’s not a terrible strategy for the Internet era, and most weekly publications are headed that way–including Time Warner’s (TWX) Time, which just drastically cut back its international news operations. At some point, though, someone’s going to have to make sure that there’s at least one media company employing actual reporters to go find out what happened–citizen journalists and Twitterers aren’t going to cut it.

Note to Newsweek staffers: If you want to report details about your own workplace, you have a forum here. You can reach me directly at If you want to be completely anonymous, which is understandable but less useful to me (I won’t have any way of reaching you for follow-up) you can use the blind tip box here.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus