Paper stealth has its place. But is it effective? Without trumpeting the changes in the usual, Newsweek tomorrow will unveil facelifts on its magazine and website, which cuts its longstanding link with old cyberpartners msnbc.com. Even the famous logo is being reshaped a bit. (Readers squawked when Time magazine printed their famous brand in pink instead of red for a recent breast cancer cover story.)
Will anybody notice Newsweek's efforts?
According to Keith Kelly of the NY Post,
Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham has consciously avoided publicizing Newsweek's revamping.
"It was stealth redesign," Meacham said yesterday as he was getting ready to ship the first of the new-look pages to the printer.
"I just want people to judge it when they see it," said Meacham. "I don't believe in sweeping declarations."
As part of the redesign - the first in six years - Newsweek's logo will undergo a slight tweak, but won't be radically different from what it replaces. In addition, many of the stories in the print version will be longer.
Meacham has also lengthened its Periscope section, doubled the size of its Conventional Wisdom Watch and added four new columnists.
"What we are trying to do here is clear out the clutter and speak in a print vernacular," said Meacham.
Meanwhile, Newsweek.com will now be a standalone Web site, though it will still have some loose ties to MSNBC.com under a new multi-year contract.
The new Web site goes live tomorrow with more breaking news, a blog from Newsweek political reporter Andrew Romano and daily updates of popular print columns such as "My Turn."
Though the magazine's Web strategy of going it alone will give Newsweek technological control of over how its site is displayed, it's a gamble because a large chunk of Newsweek's Web traffic was driven by MSNBC.com.
In August, for example, roughly 50 percent of the 7.2 million unique visitors to Newsweek's Web site came from MSNBC.com.
Rival Time magazine, meanwhile, had 4.4 million unique visitors.