US News Goes Web Only, Except College Guides

US News & World Report is going to stop printing magazines, except for a handful of niche issues like the annual college and graduate school ranking guides.

Another one-time journalistic behemoth is giving up print. US News & World Report editor  Brian Kelly sends this memo (RE: Completing Our Shift to the Digital World) to the team:

Colleagues, We’re finally ready to complete our transition to a predominantly digital publishing model with selected, single-topic print issues. This will allow us to make the most of the proven products, useful journalism, and great audience growth we’ve been sustaining. Thanks to all your great work, we’ve been able to maintain our core values of creating high-quality content while establishing a new, healthy business model. This puts us in a strong position to continue building the U.S. News brand in the new media world. As you know, we’ve been a leading innovator in adapting to the changing environment — and we don’t intend to give up that lead.

The December issue will be our last print monthly sent to subscribers, whose remaining print and digital replica subscriptions will be filled by other publishers. Going forward, our non-subscription print offerings will be for newsstand sale and targeted distribution. They’ll include the college and grad guides, as well as hospital and personal finance guides. In addition, we’ll publish four other newsstand special editions, focusing on history, religion and some of the other subjects that have been a success for us in the past. And of course we’ll continue to expand our audience and products on the various usnews.com channels and grow the digital U.S. News Weekly.

There’s a lot more to the memo but that’s the gist:  They’re only going to the newsstand with special niche issues that have demonstrated the ability to sell.  Weekly — much less monthly — news roundups are decidedly not one of those niches.

It’s truly remarkable.  I was a longtime subscriber to US News, which was always my favorite of the American newsweeklies. (The Economist was much better, of course, but so ridiculously expensive that I never seriously considered subscribing.)  But it’s been well over a decade since I took it.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Media, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. This will allow us to make the most of the proven products, useful journalism, and great audience growth we’ve been sustaining.

    (my emphasis).

    ABC Circulation report [pdf]: http://mediakit.usnews.com/audience/ABCstat2010.pdf

    Paid circulation: 2008, 2 million plus, last reported month (6/09), 1.1 million. Some growth. That goes into the annals of euphemism with the Emperor of Japan’s statement that “the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage” after two of his cities got nuked and most of the rest of them even more devastated by fire-bombs.

    Shorter Brian Kelly:
    Ian Faith: Yeah. I wouldn’t worry about it though, Boston’s not a big college town. (source.