News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion Columns

November 10, 2012

RONN MOTT: Turning the page on Newsweek

I was sitting and looking at my Newsweek magazine examining my expiration date, expiration of my subscription, and was pleased to find out it is good until June 4, 2014.

Then, a few hours later on television, I was told the magazine will stop publishing hard copies at the end of this year. They will continue with their Internet publication and I don’t know if it will be called Newsweek or The Beast. The Beast is their current publication on the internet.

I was a little shocked and dismayed wondering what my year and a half subscription has fallen into, but nonetheless, Newsweek is finished as a hard copy publication. It makes me sad.

I don’t remember the first time I picked up a Newsweek, but I distinctly remember a couple of publications. One was during the six-day Arab-Israeli war when I bought a Newsweek to find out what was going on in this conflict. When the war first broke out, that is in the early hours, the airwaves from Egypt, Syria, and other Arab countries made it sound like a sure Israeli defeat. They were talking about the Arab armored units smashing through Gaza, heading into Israel proper, and the Arab-Egytian Air Force shooting down the Israeli Air Force.

It didn’t make a lot of sense to me hearing all of this, so Newsweek gave me the real scoop. The Egyptian Air Force had been destroyed mainly on the ground in the first hours of the conflict. And the burning hulks of Russian tanks, those used by the Egyptian army, could be followed south to the Suez Canal. In the north, the Israeli forces were chasing the Syrian army back to Damascus. It was apparent, as I read my Newsweek, that Israel was not only winning, but they had smashed the Arab forces. As I read it, I breathed a sigh of relief.

Much earlier, about a decade before, I was in basic training at Parks Air Force Base in the United States Air Force. On our first, free, 12 hours away from basic training (we were restricted to the base during this time), I spent most of the day in the library picking up a copy of Newsweek and finding out what I had missed during the early training.

Newsweek was sort of a counter balance to Time magazine which leaned “right” and the more moderate, perhaps even “left,” Newsweek. Time, the news magazine that Henry Luce started in the 1920s, was a part of the large, Time family that included Life and Fortune. It would later be swept up in a melding of companies that became Time Warner. So its financial health was one part of the huge, corporate conglomerate which included Warner Brothers’ motion pictures, CNN, Turner Broadcasting, etc.

So in this information age with people everywhere knowing what is going on at just about the speed of light, a publication with days-old information became old-fashioned very quickly. Good writing, good columns, and good photography could not save Newsweek. Our life and times have passed it by.

Some of our great newspapers have folded or gone to Internet publications and I, for one, miss the turning of the pages. I will miss Newsweek. However, I’m proud to be a small part of a newspaper that is serving our community and the entire Wabash Valley.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

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