We are announcing this morning an important development at Newsweek and The Daily Beast. Newsweek will transition to an all-digital format in early 2013. As part of this transition, the last print edition in the United States will be our Dec. 31 issue.
Near its headline to the announcement, the Drudge Report posted a 1998 Newsweek cover, which displayed a photo of Monica Lewinsky. Beneath the Newsweek cover was the headline “R.I.P.”
Some readers will recall that Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff was the first reporter to learn of Bill Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky. However, editors at Newsweek sat on his story and delayed publishing it. Matt Drudge, after learning about the story, posted it on his web site and out-scooped Newsweek (His book hints that he learned of it through Lucianne Goldberg, whom, it appears, learned of it from Linda Tripp).
The Drudge Report, at the time virtually unknown, rocketed to fame. An inside source once told me that folks at Newsweek despised Drudge after he published the story.
If Newsweek editors hadn’t balked at publishing the Lewinsky story, I suspect that the Drudge Report wouldn’t exist at all today. At a minimum, its audience would be a tiny fraction of the approximately 50 million hits it receives each day.
Newsweek editors might ponder how much more viable their magazine would be if they hadn’t sat on the Lewinsky story in 1998.