Voice of the New Global Elite

The newsmagazine world has been turned on its head. Yet one weekly publication, The Economist, is arguably more prestigious than at any time in its 169-year history. This content analysis helps explain why.

Issue: Sept-Oct 2012

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS ago, if you had asked a typical senior American corporate type or public official what his or her weekly reading consisted of, the answer would usually have run something like this: “Time, Newsweek and maybe U.S. News & World Report . . . oh, yes, and the Economist.” Today, instead of being an afterthought, the Economist probably would head the list. It might even be the only publication mentioned. U.S. News & World Report ceased being a full-scale newsmagazine years ago. Newsweek, since 2010 the feeble foster child of Tina Brown’s flamboyant Daily Beast website, has lost much of its influence and most of its original staffers and subscribers. Even mighty Time, once the educated American middle class’s undisputed arbiter of all things political, economic, social and cultural, has suffered massive staff and circulation hemorrhaging and is in the throes of a seemingly endless search for a new identity. Time knows it isn’t what it used to be but still can’t make up its mind what it should become.

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