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Just two months after scaling back its frequency from weekly to monthly, U.S. News & World Report has rejoined the newsweekly format by launching a weekly digital magazine.
U.S. News Weekly, which soft launched last week and will officially launch on Friday, will be delivered as a downloadable PDF (created in-house) and carry an annual subscription fee of $19.95 (a trial four-issue subscription is available for $3.95). Print subscribers to U.S. News will be able to download the digital edition for free.
“We consider ourselves to be a brand of information,” editor Brian Kelly told The Circulator. “We don’t just see ourselves as a print magazine. We have a big digital presence, but we wanted to create something in between print and Web that would be valuable our readers. Creating a digital magazine experience allows to go back to our roots of ‘newsweekly’ journalism, but now we can get it in the hands of the readers just 10 minutes after writing the content.”
U.S. News Weekly will contain mostly political content and include sections such as “The Week in Washington,” “The Presidency,” “Washington Whispers” and “Blog Buzz”—repurposed content from U.S. News’ Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
Kelly says that U.S. News is getting the word out to current subscribers with ads via email, print and the Web. More extensive marketing campaigns are being currently planned. So far, a few hundred readers have signed up and, minus a few “technical hurdles,” things are looking "good." “We’ve had all of our beta testers kicking the tires all week and we feel that it’s in great shape,” he says.
Kelly stresses that U.S. News Weekly is not a replica of the magazine—it’s designed to fit a computer screen and has internal navigation (with video and audio). What also sets it apart from its larger companion is that it’s very subject specific. “The weekly will focus on coverage of the White House, which used to dominate the front-of-book for the old magazine,” Kelly says. “Because the front-of-book was always newsier, we thought it would be served well with digital delivery. Our larger features will stay in our print magazine and online.”
As far as audience expectations are concerned, the goal is the same as it is for U.S. News’ other products. “We have a large audience,” Kelly says. “We think the brand has stood for certain values, and certain readers come to us looking for objective information. Our goal is to keep that audience, but also to find more people like that. What we do want to do is provide that information in whatever format is most convenient.”
Kelly adds that U.S News is planning to expand its distribution of U.S. News Weekly via Amazon’s Kindle as well as a distribution deal with a digi-mag company such as Zinio (which already distributes the digital replica of U.S. News & World Report).