Editor and General Manager Michael Rogers discusses Newsweek’s online strategy
This column appeared in the January 1999 issue of The American Journalism Review.
By J.D. Lasica
Newsweek has joined the future.
Newsweek.com arrived on the Web Oct. 4 , and unlike the first wave of mainstream media news sites that reinvented themselves every five minutes, these folks don’t seem to have an identity crisis.
The streamlined site has a spare, minimalist look, featuring all the content of the print magazine alongside a handful of daily features and breaking news provided by others. With a 10-person editorial staff, the Web site has both a modest agenda and realistic goals.
In short, Newsweek.com doesn’t pretend to be all things to all Webheads.
“What we’ve seen with Web news is a rush for everyone to become a wire service,” says Michael Rogers, the site’s editor and general manager. “As the first blush of enthusiasm over immediacy begins to fade, we think people will find more value in a newsweekly that serves as a smart guide to the Web.”
Since the early ’90s, Newsweek has had a long run on Prodigy and America Online, where its staff gained experience in interacting with users and dealing with the demands of daily journalism. Why, then, was it so late in coming to the Web party? Because its parent corporation, The Washington Post Co., considered the Web to be “a more immediate threat” to the Post than to Newsweek, Rogers says. (An added inducement may have been the Matt Drudge imbroglio, which prompted Newsweek to post Michael Isikoff’s blockbuster story about Ken Starr’s expanded investigation on the Post’s Web site.)