FishbowlNY has learned that Newsweek is launching an iPad app in January. To help the debut go smoothly, the magazine has hired Melissa Lafsky as its iPad Launch Editor. Lafsky has the chops to make the app a hit; she’s worked at The Huffington Post, edited the Freakonomics blog and has written for The New York Observer, The New York Times and Wired.
Details are sparse (we do know that print subscribers will be able to access it for free) but Dirk Barnett, Creative Director at Newsweek, said a broad goal of the app is to expand on the design elements found in print. “Newsweek’s iPad app will enhance the strong design landscape of the magazine, building on the visual strengths with interactives, video elements and an extension of the strong photojournalism that has been a hallmark of the magazine for decades,” explained Barnett.
The app comes at a time when Newsweek is on quite the roller coaster. Recently there was some pretty negative press about the magazine, but according to a spokesperson, ad pages are up 59 percent for the current issue compared to last year, and The Daily Beast is going to set record traffic marks this month.
Launching an app will surely give the Newsweek roller coaster some zip, but time will tell if it’s the “Hold on, this is going to be a great ride!” kind or the “I think this ride is going to make me vomit” kind.