History of Time Magazine Part 5

About the history of Time magazine, the founding and publishing in America.



In April, 1964, a year after Time celebrated its 40th birthday, Luce turned the editorship over to his handpicked successor, Hedley Donovan, who was managing editor of Fortune at the time. Donovan, if less colorful than his predecessor, was careful, responsible, and unscarred by the factions of Time. Politically, he was more to the center than Luce, but he was cautious. He still believed in the war in Vietnam, and he tended to heed Lyndon Johnson rather than Saigon correspondent Frank McCulloch and didn't print stories that Johnson preferred not to see exposed on the pages of Time. By 1967, although Fuerbringer was unchanged, Donovan was slowly moving with the American political center against the war. Time did not reflect that shift at once, but in the late summer of that year, when Fuerbringer went on vacation, Donovan came downstairs and edited Time for three weeks. For the first time the magazine began to print what its reporters in Saigon had been saying for years--that the war was impossible to win. Time never returned to its hard line.

In the 1970s the big story, besides the windup of Vietnam, was Watergate. Considering that Watergate dealt almost entirely with Time's own party, the magazine was less dismayed by events than might have been expected. Richard Nixon never trusted Time, and relations between them were not friendly. White House correspondent Hugh Sidey had been allowed into the Oval Office only twice in six years. When the Watergate stories started coming in, Henry Grunwald, who had succeeded Fuerbringer as managing editor, was wary, for practical rather than philosophical reasons. Time would go only as far as the evidence would take it, but it would go. Donovan agreed with Grunwald. In Luce's time it would have been unthinkable to share in the exposure of a Republican president, but Nixon was not the usual Republican president, and Luce was dead. He had died on Feb. 28, 1967, of a coronary occlusion. He had been active in all the magazines that made up Time, Inc., until his death. As for his beloved Time, he had seen the beginning of the change from a very personal magazine, existing primarily to broadcast the ideals of his own American century, to a magazine that was but one part of a corporate structure, in which the primary motive was profit.

Modern Operation: Traditionally, Time has been an editor's magazine, and that fact still holds true. A reporter will put together a "file"--a lengthy, detailed, fact-filled narrative on a particular subject--which is forwarded to New York to be checked by researchers and completely rewritten by a writer, a senior editor, a top-ranking editor, and often the editor in chief or managing editor. It may then stand on its own or be incorporated into a larger story for which many reporters have sent in "files." In stark contrast to the earlier Time in which everything was anonymous, not only are critical and feature pieces signed with both the writers' and reporters' names, but many news stories as well. The "Time Essay" represents the editorial that Luce and Hadden vowed they never would have, but then the days when the whole magazine was one large editorial are gone. There is still a bias, but it is less pervasive.

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