Perhaps because of Time's Luceian origins — he and his wife, Clare Boothe Luce, were major Republican figures — Newsweek was often perceived as a more liberal counterweight. Its readers loved the weekly Periscope section, with its editorial cartoons and hot-off-the-presses news blurbs. Where Time only later started providing bylines for its stories, Newsweek offered star columnists like George Will, Eleanor Cliff and Anna Quindlen.
Life in the newsweeklies, Stephen Smith recalls, was nothing like today's frenetic media sprint. At the start of each week, reporters would come into work for a couple of days and think about story ideas and how to pitch them. The correspondents were far flung; the editing and fact-checking were meticulous.
"That world doesn't exist anymore," he said.
The magazines have tried to adjust. They do not rehash the week's events as they once did. They offer more opinion, more analysis.
Newsweek often struggled over the years, and the Post sold it to stereo equipment magnate Sidney Harmon in 2010 for $1. He died the next year, but not before the magazine was joined to The Daily Beast Web operation.
The cost of maintaining a network of correspondents has risen dramatically, along with the costs of printing and postage. Meanwhile, Newsweek's circulation dropped from 3.14 million in 2000 to 1.5 million in 2012. Time, too, has dropped, but not as precipitously, from 4.2 million in 1997 to 3.38 million now.
Other newsweeklies have done better: The Economist, with its upscale readership, went from less than 1 million in 2000 to 1.5 million in 2012, and The Week also has made gains.
Regardless, it is clear that the golden age of newsweeklies will not return.
Kosner recalled a time when there might be a presidential debate on a Tuesday night, and his readers would eagerly await the arrival of the next issue of Newsweek — five days later — to find out the story behind the story, to hear what the newsmagazine had to say about what had happened. Now, he says, they merely go to CNN, or log on to Slate.
"Time marches on," he said.
But for how long?
- Wyoming ranked third in US in percentage of...
- Test anxiety: How cold feet are ruining your...
- Hometown pastor says community stands by...
- Sen. Harry Reid's retirement recalls his...
- 'A marvellous work and a wonder': A look back...
- Drownings along Rio Grande spike after...
- O'Malley: Presidency 'not some crown'...
- Hundreds rally against Indiana law, say it's...
- 'A marvellous work and a wonder': A... 64
- 'Maternal feminists' defend motherhood... 57
- Rep. Trey Gowdy: Hillary Clinton wiped... 49
- Sen. Harry Reid's retirement recalls... 39
- Senate's Harry Reid announces he won't... 34
- Alone at controls, Germanwings co-pilot... 27
- Hundreds rally against Indiana law, say... 22
- Delete, erase, shred: The enemies of... 15