Everyone will discuss the business ramifications of the decision to evolve. I wanted to discuss some of the people who have been staunch supporters and aficionados of the old, floppy, flimsy, inky weekly. And those whose lives will be enhanced by global, digital, distribution of the property. Even some of my own family, and myself.
I remember newsstands in NYC! Does anybody remember newsstands? They were practically on every corner, as I recall. Progress?
I remember taking the L.I.R.R,alone from, the Beaux-Arts style, New York Penn Station, out to Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island to get to military school (and back) every few weeks or months. This was normal from fourth, through 7th grades. The school is now the, very toney, hotel, estate and wedding venue, OHEKA Castle.
I enjoyed the articles and, most of all, the advertisements ("You've Come a Long Way, Baby!"). Quite a few grown-ups stopped to ask me why I had a magazine instead of, say, a comic book. They were, either, impressed--- or snarky, when I opined about a current event about which I'd been reading. Newsweek helped develop my world view, starting as an, interstate, commuter at the age of 9. My mother and step-father felt this was character-building, and that a military education would "toughen me up". Um... yeah.
I could twirl MYYYYYYY rifle WAAAAYY better than all the OTHER kids! And HIGHER too! Was the writing on the wall? Just sayin'.
According to Tina Brown, Editor-in-Chief, "We are announcing this morning an important development at Newsweek and The Daily Beast. Newsweek will transition to an all-digital format in early 2013. As part of this transition, the last print edition in the United States will be our Dec. 31 issue." (read more?)
Ms. Hazziez recalled working in the office in the gorgeous Newsweek edifice at 444 Madison Avenue, responding to the hundreds of letters the publication received. She served as Assistant to the Editor for two years, commuting from Jersey City to Madison Avenue, daily, but found the commute a headache, and no longer worth the rewards. She decided to end her time there, but still speaks of the iconic news house with a warm and cordial heart.
I asked her if Newsweek is, and was, as impartial as it should have been. "I don't think they had a bias... I'm not saying they were dead-center middle, but they were an objective, reputable news outlet. Though "TIME" had more prestige, as did "Life" magazine, during the period. But they were the top three," she said.
When queried about her feelings about the change to digital format, she had much to say. "I feel, personally, a little inconvenienced, though, wait--- except that's not true. I will no longer have to go to a newsstand or to my mailbox to read it."
I wanted to know how she felt about the future of print media following this slow conversion to digital in the industry.
"It is the way it is, and the world does not want print (any more). The day of print is moving into obscurity, especially with the cost of four-color printing," opined Ms. Hazziez.
"Digital is the Gutenberg printing press of the twenty-first century. You can learn to like it, or not read," she quipped eruditely.
"I am horrified by the rate of children failing in our urban centers--- failing to maximize their literacy skills. They are not being prepared or groomed for the finest jobs. That worries me because they are ill-prepared for fiscal responsibility, for example, the costs of proper child-rearing and education.
I asked her about the impact of the digitization of the magazine as relates to leveling the playing field for people, of all socioeconomic strata, who can now read, and access anything, from anywhere. "I think the biggest upgrade to an, already constructive, format is that there will be more international inculcation of daily, and significant happenings around the world. Anyone with access to the internet are now open to reactions and news, in real time, worldwide. The melting pot has expanded exponentially."
So what about the most dynamic role in bringing digital media to the planet?
"The Latin expression of Aristotle's and Plato's time is something that comes to my mind: "summum bonum" "The supreme good, for the greatest number," Ms. Hazziez quoted.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Ms. Hazziez is my mother, with whom I have recently re-connected. At the time time of her employment at Newsweek, she was "Mrs. Hazziez". She is now Dr. Savaant. Thank you, Mom, for opening my eyes and mind to the world around me. I love you, interviewing you, and I love your mind!