Originally called "News-Week" it was founded by Thomas J.C. Martyn on February 17, 1933. That issue featured seven photographs from the week's news on the cover, but over time it has developed the spectrum of news-magazine material, from breaking stories to analysis to reviews and commentary. The magazine was bought by The Washington Post Company in 1961.
As of 2003, worldwide circulation is more than 4 million, including 3.1 million in the U.S. It also publishes editions in Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Arabic, as well as an English language Newsweek International.