Show and Tell: The beginning of the end?

Amanda Shendruk on Newsweek's news and the future of print

Newsweek has announced that at the end of 2012 it will cease publishing its print version. From then on, it will be e-only. Is this the beginning of the end of print?

The move is notable, as it represents one of the first major publications to ditch paper and ink. They’re taking an all-or-nothing dive into digital that few have attempted—and the industry will certainly be observing. Just as we watched the pay-wall pioneers to see if readers would pitch in for online news, we will now watch Newsweek, eager to see if its full online embrace will flounder or flourish.

It’s a brave (or perhaps desperate?) action, but is it one that any of our own news publications could even consider? Canada tops most countries in Internet usage, but that doesn’t mean we’re ready for an online-only news industry.

A recent Ipsos Reid poll conducted for the Canadian Journalism Foundation can help us find the answer. What percentage of Canadians are clinging to hard copy, and which are going digital for their daily dose?

It looks like there’s still significant support for printed journalism. But haven’t we all heard the mantra that “print is dying”? Well, in Canada at least, we don’t need to write a eulogy for the newspaper just yet. By looking at the readership of five of the largest newspapers in our country, it’s not immediately clear that the industry is on its last legs. Take a look at how Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail, Le Journal de Montreal, the National Post and the Toronto Star have fared during hte past decade.