If we needed any more evidence of the immense influence of the Internet, look no further than the latest redesign of the venerable BusinessWeek magazine. As detailed in this New York Times article, BW is using a number of design and format lessons from the Web to goose the magazine’s appeal and circulation. Elements of the redesign include more summaries, inserts (or “links” with references to outside publications), shorter articles, and distinctive sections focusing on specific topics or themes with their own tables of contents. Cynics quoted in the article suggest BW may have been better off just dumping the magazine and making improvements to their online version. And of course, the central elements of any online publication – the added dimension of conversation and links – cannot be duplicated in a paper document. Time will tell if these changes will help the magazine, since the ultimate question is whether there is any need for magazines with the increasing ubiquity of digital content – including business news. Time will tell.

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