Little Bits of History

Time Is On Our Side

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 3, 2015
TIME magazine's first cover

TIME magazine’s first cover

March 3, 1923: A new magazine hit the newsstands. Time (TIME on the cover of the publication) was created by Briton Hadden and Henry Luce and was the first weekly news magazine in the US. The two men had worked together as chairman and managing editor respectively for the Yale Daily News. While in development, they proposed to call their new magazine Facts. The one word name was to emphasize the brevity of the articles, designed to please the busy man since they were able to be read in an hour. They opted to change the name to Time and then added the slogan “Take Time – It’s Brief”. Hadden was the more carefree of the partners and it was his hand that included the heavy coverage of celebrities which included politicians, along with entertainment and pop culture.

Their idea was to sell news through people and for many decades, the cover depicted a single person. The initial issue, launched on this day, featured Joseph G Cannon who was the retired Speaker of the House of Representatives. The initial cover price was 15¢ which is slightly more than $2 in today’s currency. Hadden died in 1929 and the magazine fell under Luce’s control. The second most influential man at Time, Inc. was Roy Edward Larsen who began his career as circulation manager and would eventually became general manager of Time and later the publisher of Life. He would go on to become the president of Time, Inc.

Early in the life of Time, Larsen employed radio and movie theaters to expand interest and hopefully, circulation. As early as 1924, Larsen formulated a 15-minute quiz show called Pop Question which lasted into 1925. He then broadcast a 10-minute program featuring news briefs drawn from the current issue of Time. He next arranged a 30-minute radio program, The March of Time, broadcast from CBS which began on March 6, 1931. Each week’s program offered a dramatization of the week’s news. In this manner, Time magazine was brought “to the attention of millions previously unaware of its existence” – according to the corporation’s history recorded in Time Inc.: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise 1923–1941.

Time became part of Time Warner in 1989 when Warner Bros. and Time, Inc. merged. Today, it has a circulation of nearly 3.3 million and remains a weekly publication. Nancy Gibbs is the managing editor. The company is based in New York City. There are a number of different versions of Time such as Time Europe which is published in London and covers Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and since 2003 Latin America. There is an Asian edition published in Hong Kong, entitled Time Asia. The South Pacific edition covers Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. It is published in Sidney. The brand has a readership of 25 million, 20 million of them in the US.

As a journalist I am in command of a small sector in the very front trenches of this battle for freedom.

Not much longer shall we have time for reading lessons of the past. An inexorable present calls us to the defense of a great future.

I do not know any problem in journalism which can be usefully isolated from the profoundest questions of man’s fate.

Time should make enemies and Life should make friends. – all from Henry Luce

Also on this day: Vincent van Gogh – In 1853, Vincent van Gogh was born.
Football – No, Soccer – In 1891, the Penalty Spot Kick was created.
Comstock Law – In 1873, The Comstock Law was enacted in the US.
Panic – In 1943, 173 people were killed at Bethnal Green during a bombing raid over London.
Give it Away – In 1910, JD Rockefeller, Jr. retired.




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