Time (magazine)

Last updated

Time Magazine logo.svg
Time, May 26, 2016.jpg
Cover for the May 26, 2016, issue
Editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal
Categories News magazine
FrequencyWeekly (1923–2020); twice monthly (2020–present). Fridays
Total circulation
1.6 million [1]
First issueMarch 3, 1923;99 years ago (1923-03-03)
Company Time Inc. (1923–1990; 2014–2018)
Time Warner (1990–2014)
Meredith Corporation (2018)
Time USA, LLC. (Marc & Lynne Benioff) (2018–present)
CountryUnited States
Based in New York City
Website time.com
ISSN 0040-781X
OCLC 1311479

Time (stylized in all caps) is an American news magazine based in New York City. For nearly a century, it was published weekly, but starting in March 2020 it transitioned to every other week. [2] It was first published in New York City on March 3, 1923, and for many years it was run by its influential co-founder, Henry Luce. A European edition (Time Europe, formerly known as Time Atlantic) is published in London and also covers the Middle East, Africa, and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition (Time Asia) is based in Hong Kong. [3] The South Pacific edition, which covers Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, is based in Sydney.


Since 2018, Time has been published by Time USA, LLC, owned by Marc Benioff, who acquired it from Meredith Corporation.


Cover of the first issue of Time (March 3, 1923), featuring U.S. Speaker Joseph G. Cannon Time Magazine - first cover.jpg
Cover of the first issue of Time (March 3, 1923), featuring U.S. Speaker Joseph G. Cannon

Time has been based in New York City since its first issue published on March 3, 1923, by Briton Hadden and Henry Luce. It was the first weekly news magazine in the United States. [4] The two had previously worked together as chairman and managing editor, respectively, of the Yale Daily News . They first called the proposed magazine Facts, wanting to emphasize brevity so a busy man could read it in an hour. They changed the name to Time and used the slogan "Take Time – It's Brief". [5] Hadden was considered carefree and liked to tease Luce. He saw Time as important but also fun, which accounted for its heavy coverage of celebrities and politicians, the entertainment industry and pop culture, criticizing it as too light for serious news.

Time set out to tell the news through people, and until the late 1960s, the magazine's cover depicted a single person. More recently, Time has incorporated "People of the Year" issues which grew in popularity over the years. The first issue of Time featured Joseph G. Cannon, the retired Speaker of the House of Representatives, on its cover; a facsimile reprint of Issue No. 1, including all of the articles and advertisements contained in the original, was included with copies of the magazine's issue from February 28, 1938, in commemoration of its 15th anniversary. [6] The cover price was 15¢ (equivalent to $2.39 in 2021). On Hadden's death in 1929, Luce became the dominant man at Time and a major figure in the history of 20th-century media. According to Time Inc.: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise 1972–2004 by Robert Elson, "Roy Edward Larsen  ... was to play a role second only to Luce's in the development of Time Inc". In his book The March of Time, 1935–1951, Raymond Fielding also noted that Larsen was "originally circulation manager and then general manager of Time, later publisher of Life , for many years president of Time Inc., and in the long history of the corporation the most influential and important figure after Luce".[ citation needed ]

Around the time they were raising $100,000 from wealthy Yale alumni such as Henry P. Davison, partner of J.P. Morgan & Co., publicity man Martin Egan and J.P. Morgan & Co. banker Dwight Morrow; Henry Luce and Briton Hadden hired Larsen in 1922 – although Larsen was a Harvard graduate and Luce and Hadden were Yale graduates. After Hadden died in 1929, Larsen purchased 550 shares of Time Inc., using money he obtained from selling RKO stock he had inherited from his father, who was the head of the Benjamin Franklin Keith theater chain in New England. However, after Briton Hadden's death, the largest Time, Inc. stockholder was Henry Luce, who ruled the media conglomerate in an autocratic fashion; "at his right hand was Larsen", Time's second-largest stockholder, according to Time Inc.: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise 1923–1941. In 1929, Roy Larsen was also named a Time Inc. director and vice president. J. P. Morgan retained a certain control through two directorates and a share of stocks, both over Time and Fortune . Other shareholders were Brown Brothers W. A. Harriman & Co., and the New York Trust Company (Standard Oil).[ citation needed ]

The Time Inc. stock owned by Luce at the time of his death was worth about $109 million ($886 million in 2021), and it had been yielding him a yearly dividend of more than $2.4 million ($19.5 million in 2021), according to Curtis Prendergast's The World of Time Inc.: The Intimate History of a Changing Enterprise 1957–1983. The Larsen family's Time stock was worth around $80 million during the 1960s, and Roy Larsen was both a Time Inc. director and the chairman of its executive committee, later serving as Time's vice chairman of the board until the middle of 1979. On September 10, 1979, The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Larsen was the only employee in the company's history given an exemption from its policy of mandatory retirement at age 65."

After Time magazine began publishing its weekly issues in March 1923, Roy Larsen was able to increase its circulation by using U.S. radio and movie theaters around the world. It often promoted both Time magazine and U.S. political and corporate interests. According to The March of Time , as early as 1924, Larsen had brought Time into the infant radio business with the broadcast of a 15-minute sustaining quiz show entitled Pop Question which survived until 1925". Then in 1928, Larsen "undertook the weekly broadcast of a 10-minute programme series of brief news summaries, drawn from current issues of Time magazine ... which was originally broadcast over 33 stations throughout the United States".[ citation needed ]

Larsen next arranged for the 30-minute radio program The March of Time to be broadcast over CBS beginning on March 6, 1931. Each week, the program presented a dramatization of the week's news for its listeners; thus Time magazine itself was brought "to the attention of millions previously unaware of its existence", according to Time Inc.: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise 1923–1941, leading to an increased circulation of the magazine during the 1930s. Between 1931 and 1937, Larsen's The March of Time radio program was broadcast over CBS radio, and between 1937 and 1945, it was broadcast over NBC radio – except between 1939 and 1941, when it was not aired. People magazine was based on Time's "People" page.

In 1987, Jason McManus succeeded Henry Grunwald as editor-in-chief, [7] and oversaw the transition before Norman Pearlstine succeeded him in 1995. In 1989, when Time, Inc. and Warner Communications merged, Time became part of Time Warner, along with Warner Bros. In 2000, Time became part of AOL Time Warner, which reverted to the name Time Warner in 2003.

In 2007, Time moved from a Monday subscription/newsstand delivery to a schedule where the magazine goes on sale Fridays, and is delivered to subscribers on Saturday. The magazine actually began in 1923 with Friday publication.

In early 2007, the year's first issue was delayed for roughly a week due to "editorial changes", including the layoff of 49 employees. [8]

In 2009, Time announced that they were introducing Mine , a personalized print magazine mixing content from a range of Time Warner publications based on the reader's preferences. The new magazine was met with a poor reception, with criticism that its focus was too broad to be truly personal. [9]

The magazine has an online archive with the unformatted text for every article published. The articles are indexed and were converted from scanned images using optical character recognition technology. The minor errors in the text are remnants of the conversion into digital format.

In January 2013, Time Inc. announced that it would cut nearly 500 jobs – roughly 6% of its 8,000 staff worldwide. [10] Although Time magazine has maintained high sales, its ad pages have declined significantly over time. [11]

Also in January 2013, Time Inc. named Martha Nelson as the first female editor-in-chief of its magazine division. [12] In September 2013, Nancy Gibbs was named as the first female managing editor of Time magazine. [12]

In November 2017, Meredith Corporation announced its acquisition of Time, Inc., backed by Koch Equity Development. [13] In March 2018, only six weeks after the closure of the sale, Meredith announced that it would explore the sale of Time and sister magazines Fortune , Money and Sports Illustrated , since they did not align with the company's lifestyle brands. [14]

In 2017, editor and journalist Catherine Mayer, who also founded the Women's Equality Party in the UK, sued Time through attorney Ann Olivarius for sex and age discrimination. [15] [16] The suit was resolved in 2018. [17]

In September 2018, Meredith Corporation announced that it would re-sell Time to Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne for $190 million, a transaction completed on October 31. Although Benioff is the chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce.com, Time was to remain separate from that company and Benioff would not be involved in the magazine's daily operations. [18] [19] The sale was completed on October 31, 2018. Time USA LLC, the parent company of the magazine, is owned by Marc Benioff.

Time Canada

From 1942 until 1979, Time had a Canadian edition that included an insert of five pages of locally produced content as well as occasional Canadian covers. Following changes in the tax status of Canadian editions of American magazines, Time closed Canadian bureaus, except for Ottawa, and published identical content to the US edition but with Canadian advertising. [20] In December 2008, Time discontinued publishing a Canadian advertiser edition. [21]


During the second half of 2009, the magazine had a 34.9% decline in newsstand sales. [22] During the first half of 2010, another decline of at least one-third in Time magazine sales occurred. In the second half of 2010, Time magazine newsstand sales declined by about 12% to just over 79,000 copies per week.[ citation needed ]

As of 2012, it had a circulation of 3.3 million, making it the 11th-most circulated magazine in the United States, and the second-most circulated weekly behind People . [23] As of July 2017, its circulation was 3,028,013. [1] In October 2017, Time cut its circulation to two million. [24] The print edition has a readership of 1.6 million, 1 million of whom are based in the United States.



Time initially possessed a distinctively "acerbic, irreverent style", largely created by Haddon and sometimes called "Timestyle". [25] Timestyle made regular use of inverted sentences, as famously parodied in 1936 by Wolcott Gibbs in The New Yorker : "Backward ran sentences until reeled the mind ... Where it all will end, knows God!" [26] Time also coined or popularized many neologisms like "socialite", "guesstimate", "televangelist", "pundit", and "tycoon", [25] as well as some less successful ones like "cinemactress" and "radiorator". [27] Time introduced the name "World War II" in 1939. [28] The false title construction was popularized by Time and indeed is sometimes called a "Time-style adjective". [29] [30] [31] [32]



Since its first issue, Time has had a "Milestones" section about significant events in the lives of famous people, including births, marriages, divorces, and deaths. [33] [34] Until 1967, entries in Milestones were short and formulaic. A typical example from 1956: [35]

Died. Lieut, (j.g.) David Greig ("Skippy") Browning Jr., 24, star of the 1952 Olympics as the U.S.'s dazzling three-meter diving champion, national collegiate one-and three-meter diving champ (1951-52); in the crash of a North American FJ-3 Fury jet fighter while on a training flight; near Rantoul, Kans.

A reader wrote a parody of the older form to announce the change: [36]

Died. Time's delightful but confusing habit of listing names, ages, claims to fame and other interesting tidbits about the famous newly deceased in its Milestones notices; then the circumstances of, and places where, the deaths occurred; of apparent good sentence structure; in New York.


Until the mid-1970s, Time had a weekly "Listings" section with capsule summaries or reviews of current significant films, plays, musicals, television programs, and literary bestsellers similar to The New Yorker 's "Current Events" section. [37]


Time is also known for the red border on its cover, introduced in 1927. [38] The border has only been changed eight times since 1927:

Former president Richard Nixon has been among the most frequently-featured on the cover of Time, having appeared 55 times from August 25, 1952, to May 2, 1994. [43]

In October 2020, the magazine replaced its logo with the word "Vote", [44] explaining that "Few events will shape the world to come more than the result of the upcoming US presidential election". [45]

2007 redesign

In 2007, Time redesigned the magazine in order to update and modernize the format. [46] Among other changes, the magazine reduced the red cover border to promote featured stories, enlarged column titles, reduced the number of featured stories, increased white space around articles, and accompanied opinion pieces with photographs of the writers. The changes were met with both criticism and praise. [47] [48] [49]

Special editions

Person of the Year

Time's most famous feature throughout its history has been the annual "Person of the Year" (formerly "Man of the Year") cover story, in which Time recognizes the individual or group of individuals who have had the biggest impact on news headlines over the past 12 months. The distinction is supposed to go to the person who, "for good or ill", has most affected the course of the year; it is, therefore, not necessarily an honor or a reward. In the past, such figures as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin have been Man of the Year.

In 2006, Person of the Year was "You", and was met with split reviews. Some thought the concept was creative; others wanted an actual person of the year. Editors Pepper and Timmer reflected that, if it had been a mistake, "we're only going to make it once". [50]

In 2017, Time named the "Silence Breakers", people who came forward with personal stories of sexual harassment, as Person of the Year. [51]

Time 100

In recent years, Time has assembled an annual list of the 100 most influential people of the year. Originally, they had made a list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. These issues usually have the front cover filled with pictures of people from the list and devote a substantial amount of space within the magazine to the 100 articles about each person on the list. In some cases, over 100 people have been included, as when two people have made the list together, sharing one spot.

The magazine also compiled "All-Time 100 best novels" and "All-Time 100 Movies" lists in 2005, [52] [53] [54] "The 100 Best TV Shows of All-Time" in 2007, [55] and "All-Time 100 Fashion Icons" in 2012. [56]

In February 2016, Time mistakenly included the male author Evelyn Waugh on its "100 Most Read Female Writers in College Classes" list (he was 97th on the list). The error created much media attention and concerns about the level of basic education among the magazine's staff. [57] Time later issued a retraction. [57] In a BBC interview with Justin Webb, Professor Valentine Cunningham of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, described the mistake as "a piece of profound ignorance on the part of Time magazine". [58]

Red X covers

Time red X covers: from left to right, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Osama bin Laden Time Magazine red X covers.jpg
Time red X covers: from left to right, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Osama bin Laden

During its history, on six occasions, Time has released a special issue with a cover showing an X scrawled over the face of a man or a national symbol. The first Time magazine with a red X cover was released on May 7, 1945, showing a red X over Adolf Hitler's face. The second X cover was released more than three months later on August 20, 1945, with a black X (to date, the magazine's only such use of a black X) covering the flag of Japan, representing the recent surrender of Japan and which signaled the end of World War II. Fifty-eight years later, on April 21, 2003, Time released another issue with a red X over Saddam Hussein's face, two weeks after the start of the Invasion of Iraq. On June 13, 2006, Time printed a red X cover issue following the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq. The second most recent red X cover issue of Time was published on May 2, 2011, after the death of Osama bin Laden. [59] As of 2022, the most recent red X cover issue of Time features a red X scrawled over the year 2020 and the declaration "the worst year ever". [60] [61]

The November 2, 2020, issue of the U.S. edition of the magazine was the first time that the cover logo "TIME" was not used. The cover of that issue used the word "VOTE" as a replacement logo, along with artwork by Shepard Fairey of a voter wearing a pandemic face mask, accompanied by information on how to vote. The magazine's editor-in-chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal explained this decision for a one-time cover logo change as a "rare moment, one that will separate history into before and after for generations". [45]

Time for Kids

Time for Kids is a division magazine of Time that is especially published for children and is mainly distributed in classrooms. TFK contains some national news, a "Cartoon of the Week", and a variety of articles concerning popular culture. An annual issue concerning the environment is distributed near the end of the U.S. school term. The publication rarely exceeds ten pages front and back.

Time LightBox

Time LightBox is a photography blog created and curated by the magazine's photo department that was launched in 2011. [62] In 2011, Life picked LightBox for its Photo Blog Awards. [63]

TimePieces NFTs

TimePieces is a Web3 community NFT initiative from Time. It included works from over 40 artists from multiple disciplines. [64] [65]


Richard Stengel was the managing editor from May 2006 to October 2013, when he joined the U.S. State Department. [66] [67] Nancy Gibbs was the managing editor from September 2013 until September 2017. [67] She was succeeded by Edward Felsenthal, who had been Time's digital editor. [68]


Managing editors

Managing editorEditor fromEditor to
John S. Martin [69] 19291937
Manfred Gottfried [69] 19371943
T. S. Matthews [69] 19431949
Roy Alexander19491960
Otto Fuerbringer 19601968
Henry Grunwald 19681977
Ray Cave19791985
Jason McManus 19851987
Henry Muller19871993
James R. Gaines 19931995
Walter Isaacson 19962001
Jim Kelly20012005
Richard Stengel 20062013
Nancy Gibbs 20132017
Edward Felsenthal 2017present

Notable contributors

Snapshot: 1940 editorial staff

In 1940, William Saroyan lists the full Time editorial department in the play, Love's Old Sweet Song. [71]

This 1940 snapshot includes:

Competitors in the US

Other major American news magazines:

See also

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Further reading