US magazine Newsweek rolled out a redesign on Monday as the weekly title seeks to reinvent itself in an age of constantly updated news on the Internet, declining circulation and falling advertising revenue. The inaugural issue of the “new” Newsweek hit the newsstands featuring an exclusive interview with President Barack Obama and a dramatically different look. The revamp of the 76-year-old news magazine, which has been owned by The Washington Post Co. since 1961, affects not just the content but also the appearance with Newsweek now printing on high-quality glossy paper.

Editor Jon Meachem wrote that the “reinvented and rethought” Newsweek would focus more on “original reporting, provocative (but not partisan) arguments and unique voices” and less on the “straightforward news piece.” Media analysts have described Newsweek‘s redesign as an effort to become more like Britain’s Economist and less like its longtime US rival Time. Assistant managing editor Kathleen Deveny wrote in an article about the redesign that the changes were brought about by the shifting media landscape ushered in by the Internet.

“Even as the daily buzz of information rises around us, our advertisers have turned away, or fallen on hard times themselves,” she wrote. “Revenue and ad pages have declined. We reduced our workforce by 160 people to around 400. Last year, the magazine’s 75th, Newsweek slipped into the red.”

She said the new Newsweek would eschew celebrity news and was seeking to appeal to “smart, educated readers who are looking for a publication that can help them put the flood of news into perspective.”

“We will focus on a smaller, more devoted, slightly more affluent audience,” she said, adding the magazine would drop its guaranteed circulation from 2.6 million to 1.5 million by January and increase subscription prices

Peter Fray

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