Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Week: Back to the Future

Amidst the news of the NY Times latest “pay-per-view” scheme the same paper ran a fascinating piece on an upstart newsweekly called The Week that’s meeting surprising, if modest success at a time when periodicals and certainly general newsweeklies are in steep decline.

If you haven’t seen a copy, The Week is a tightly edited digest of what happened in the world the preceding week. It covers hard news, politics, culture and more; mostly by citing, mashing-up, and sometimes excerpting content from other sources. While their model works better in print than online, here’s an example of what they do: What happens if a Japan-sized earthquake hits California?, or this on business news: Is Groupon really worth $25 billion?

Intriguing about The Week is that it is in many ways a reprise of the publishing strategy envisioned by Henry Luce and his original partner Briton Haden for Time magazine in 1923. A story well told in The Publisher by Alan Brinkley.

As access to news and information explode The Week is finding, as Time did in its day, that readers value both the utility and art that sharp editors bring to netting out the stuff they’re interested in.

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