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An End and a Beginning

The last print edition of Government Executive.

In the spring of 1969, a new magazine called Government Executive debuted. The cover featured Richard Nixon and the headline: “What Government Can Expect From President Nixon.”

The editors did not know what government could expect from President Nixon.

Of course, there is much they could not have predicted all those years ago. That includes the fact that the magazine they launched would still be publishing more than 46 years later—both in print and online in a fashion that would have been pure science fiction in the late 1960s.

From now on, we’ll focus our attention solely on the digital arena. This is the last print edition of Government Executive. While that certainly isn’t a cause for celebration, neither do we see it as sad news. It’s simply the latest step in the evolution of Government Executive Media Group into the premier digital journalism organization for people who have dedicated their careers to public service. 

Why leave print behind? The answer is pretty straightforward: Our readers and our sponsors have spoken, and they’re telling us they’ve moved on from print. We recently surveyed our print subscribers, and more than 70 percent of them said they prefer to read news online or are indifferent, with only 28 percent saying they prefer print. On the advertising side, print revenue has slowly and steadily declined in recent years. Luckily, we’ve replaced the revenue with the varied digital options we offer to sponsors.

This move will allow us to dedicate our editorial staff’s full attention to those areas where we already have come to excel: delivering strong storytelling online, and bringing that experience to life via in-person and online events. While we won’t be printing a magazine on paper, we’ll continue to explore new ways to serve readers, including by delivering long-form journalism in innovative ways. 

We now do that through no fewer than four digital publications:

  • Government Executive, launched in 1996 to serve high-ranking federal managers and executives.
  • Nextgov, started in 2007 to explore technology and the government of tomorrow.
  • Defense One, which took flight in 2013 to focus on the future of national security.
  • Route Fifty, launched earlier this year to examine critical issues in state and local government.

Government Executive has a long and distinguished history as a print magazine. Through the work of many, many people over the decades, it became the most trusted brand in the federal market. In this issue, longtime editor in chief Timothy B. Clark reflects on the history of the magazine in a special essay. 

After the most recent edition appeared, a reader wrote the following: “Without doubt, the September/October issue of Government Executive is the best issue that I have ever read. From ‘Unlocking Soldier Suicide’ to ‘When the Power Goes Out’ to ‘How the OPM Hackers . . .’ to ‘The Fallacy of Threat Detection,’ the stories and reports got better and better.”

It’s nice to think that we’ll be exiting the print world at the top of our game. And we’ll do even better work online. Our digital publications attract a much bigger audience than we could ever hope to serve in print—and without the limitations inherent in an ink-on-paper publication. 

We take very seriously our responsibility to serve the people who hold the most important jobs in America. These leaders have demonstrated time and again the importance of constantly adapting to a changing world and finding creative ways to accomplish government’s crucial missions. Now it’s our turn to do the same. 

We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished in this magazine in the past. And we’re excited about building on that foundation in all we do in the future.