"No comment," said editor Brian Kelly. President Bill Holiber did not respond to a voicemail seeking comment. A spokeswoman said she could neither confirm nor deny word of a monthly print frequency. An Election Day memo by Mr. Kelly and Mr. Holiber details organizational changes but does not discuss frequency of publication.
Reports of the change in plans have been accumulating since yesterday, however, when Fishbowl DC said the longtime No. 3 (after Time and Newsweek) will publish a print edition only once a month beginning next year. Media buyers confirmed that the magazine had informed them of the decision, which is now also being reported by The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Going monthly is a big step beyond the plan for a biweekly print schedule and a strong digital business that Mr. Kelly and Mr. Holiber described just five months ago. But challenging times for print publishers have become chaotic lately, with major layoffs at companies from Time Inc. to Gannett announced last week -- and word that the Christian Science Monitor plans to stop printing a daily print edition.
All newsweeklies suffering
Traditional newsweeklies had been suffering anyway. This year through its Oct. 13 issue, ad pages at U.S. News fell 32.5% from their level in the equivalent period last year, according to the Media Industry Newsletter. Ad pages fell 25.5% through the Oct. 20 issue of Time Inc.'s Time magazine. They dropped 22.7% at Newsweek through the same period.
The Week, an ink-on-paper news aggregator, held its smaller base of ad pages flat through the Oct. 17 issue. It is actually adding an issue next year for a total of 49.
All three traditional newsweeklies have cut their paid circulations to save money. U.S. News reported a 10.1% decline in paid and verified circulation, to 1.8 million, in its latest filing to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Time held about flat, down 0.3% to nearly 3.4 million. Newsweek reported a 12.8% decline to 2.7 million.
The Week expanded its average paid and verified circulation by 1.7% to reach 503,075.