Tag Archives: Newsweek magazine

Newsweek 8132012_featured

Newsweek’s Sloppy Seconds Cover Shows Magazine Desperately Needs Attention

Newsweek magazine August 13-20 coverWhat’s old is new again, again at Newsweek magazine. Certainly no wimps when it comes to generating buzz, the news weekly’s latest attention grab is gratuitous and sloppy.

Despite rumors and rumblings that Newsweek is moving to digital only, the print magazine’s latest issue makes it clear that it isn’t at least going down without another controversial cover.

The Aug. 13-20 double issue’s cover story, “101 Best Places to Eat in the World,” is depicted by the face of an anonymous model and in her fingers a couple of asparagus spears dangling suggestively above her mouth.

Normally the term “food porn” might conjure up images like those found in Saveur, Bon Appetit or Food & Wine magazines—beautiful dishes that awaken the desire to eat and be satisfied. Yet the emphasis is always on the food.

But Newsweek’s cover plays on both terms— food and porn—separately and ultimately together. Still, the overarching message is a sexual one. BagNews, a website dedicated in dissecting images in the news, took its analysis a step further.

BagNews writer Karrin Anderson concluded that the subtext is one of female oppression, where both the food and the woman are presented as objects of desire. This is further reinforced, she writes, in the cover article. Of the 53 finest chefs who chimed in on the world’s best places to eat, a precious few are women.

Was this message what Newsweek editor Tina Brown had in mind for her latest cover? Or was it just another attempt to get people talking about her magazine?

Likely the latter as Brown has been partial to the shock factor on her covers time and again. So far she’s exhumed Princess Diana, who was appropriately aged to look 50 thanks to Photoshop, and placed next to daughter-in-law Kate Middleton last July.

Then there was President Obama’s coming out party in May this year, complete with a rainbow-colored halo edited in above his cover photo.

Gender equality arguments aside, this time the controversial cover was sloppily executed. It made use of a quite popular stock photo that’s been around the block a few times. Blog site Eater pointed out this image covered the UK’s Observer Food Monthly back in 2008 and most recently appeared in the May 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar Russia.

In 2006, Harper’s Bazaar hired award-winning photographer Donna Trope to take the image, which appeared in its June issue that year and is still on the magazine’s website, according to Eater. Since the image was licensed, it’s been making the rounds on stock image galleries.

There’s no shame in using stock images, but on the cover and when your main competition is shooting its own? (As weird as it was, at least Time’s controversial breastfeeding cover was original.)

For all the pandering and mixed messages implicit in Newsweek’s latest cover, using a recycled photo is the least of its worries. But it doesn’t hide the fact that this is a magazine in desperate need of attention—and it’s willing to go to nearly any lengths to get it.


The 5 Most Controversial Magazine Covers of the Past 25 Years

Demi Moore's pregnant Vanity Fair photoControversial magazine covers are nothing new. Time and Newsweek are just the latest to take their spots somewhere alongside these headline-making issues of the last 25 years.

Just when you think you’ve heard or seen or read it all, some magazine cover comes along to prove otherwise. Whether it’s Time’s recent breastfeeding cover throwing down the gauntlet to moms everywhere or Newsweek’s similarly timed rainbow-colored haloed proclamation that the president is gay, some magazine covers will enjoy a shelf life well beyond their issue date.

And it’s not always because of stunning photography, like National Geographic’s cover featuring a red-cloaked woman with haunting eyes. Nope, some magazines attain infamy by the controversy they stir up—at that point in time, of course. While this month’s Time and Newsweek covers figure to be in dubious company, here’s a look at the five most controversial magazine covers of the past 25 years as compared to some of their earlier contemporaries.

Vanity Fair, August 1991: Paper-thin models baring a lot—or even all—on the cover of a magazine is nothing surprising. But when a very pregnant Demi Moore showed off her baby bump and then some, it  not only caused a stir—it inspired a string of copycats like Cindy Crawford, Halle Berry, Britney Spears and most recently Jessica Simpson. The pose was shocking the first time, but lately it’s become more commonplace than controversial.

Rolling Stone magazine

Rolling Stone, Feb. 9, 2006: Avid readers of Time or students of history will remember its uproarious “Is God Dead?” cover from 1966. If that simple red-text-on-a-black-background cover generated more letters to the editor than any other issue in the magazine’s history, imagine the outrage over rapper Kanye West’s portrayal as Jesus with a crown of thorns around his head. Much more graphic than Time’s cover 40 years prior, but no less controversial.


The New Yorker

The New Yorker, July 21, 2008: Politicos of any level knowingly open themselves to scrutiny and ridicule. Take Michelle Bachmann’s “Queen of Rage” or Sarah Palin’s short shorts Newsweek covers. Questioning the motives or justification behind choosing unflattering or sexist shots is not without a heated debate, but The New Yorker’s portrayal of the Obamas as fist-bumping terrorists in post-9/11 America crosses even that controversial line.


Rolling Stone magazine subscription

Rolling Stone, Sept. 2, 2010: Several controversial cover lists place Janet Jackson’s 1993 Rolling Stone cover—featuring her topless with her then-husband’s hands around her breasts—above the magazine’s “True Blood” cover with the HBO series’ three completely nude and blood-splattered stars. Does this signal a relaxation of social mores in the nearly two decades between the publication of the two? Or rather does the public hold its “nonfictional” stars to a higher standard?


Newsweek magazine

Newsweek, July 4, 2011: File this one under “Controversy, Creepy.” Few other words can describe this cover that has no preceding equal that depicts Princess Diana’s return from beyond, not to mention how her aging process has (gracefully?) kept pace with the passing of time—thanks to, what else, Photoshop. Skin not crawling yet? Superimpose her image next to daughter-in-law Kate Middleton for one of the most bizarre and controversial magazine covers to date.

Time magazine

Controversial Time and Newsweek Covers Remind Us Print Isn’t on Life Support

Time magazine May 21, 2012 coverIt’s been a banner week for magazine cover controversy. But Time’s breastfeeding toddler and Newsweek’s ‘gaylo’-ed President–and the fallout from it–remind print isn’t dead yet.

Don’t sound the death knell for print just yet. Forget how the rise of the Internet and digitization would destroy subscription bases. No matter that the immediacy of social media would make their contents obsolete by the time of publication.

If the controversial magazine covers released by Time and Newsweek in the past week have taught us anything, it’s that print media is still the big dog wagging the digital tail.

First, Time magazine’s cover depicting a mom breastfeeding her toddler in a feature about attachment parenting set the Twitterverse, well, atwitter. And President Barack Obama’s recent announcement that he supports same-sex marriage prompted Newsweek to proclaim him the nation’s “first gay president” underneath a cover photo featuring him with a twinkling rainbow-colored halo overhead.

Time’s nod to Mother’s Day—if it were that—got tongues wagging over an extreme method of parenting in which moms particularly deepen their bond with their children by breastfeeding them well into their toddler years, “wear” them in infancy in slings carried close to their bodies and let their little ones sleep in bed with them.

But to be fair, all the fuss was over the photo of a real mother and her 3-year-old son breastfeeding on its May 21, 2012 issue. It wasn’t Photoshopped or a computer-generated graphic, which kept pushing it farther out of the majority of the viewing public’s comfort zone.

Newsweek’s brash assertion about Obama being the “first gay president” is actually a riff on a Toni Morrison comment in a 1998 New Yorker essay about Bill Clinton being the “first black president.” In it, Morrison details the qualities about Clinton that “make him black”—though he obviously isn’t. Just as Obama’s support of gay marriage doesn’t make him gay.

Considering the siNewsweek May 21, 2012milarities of the two, it should come as no surprise that the same editor was in charge at the New Yorker then and at Newsweek now. Tina Brown has a reputation for controversial covers—and for an uptick in newsstand sales as a result. And when the cover of the latest Time hit the Internet a week ago, it wouldn’t be her style to be one-upped.

Ironically, Newsweek may have bought Time some more time, at least in some media outlets. The covers of both magazines have made their rounds on television and network news programs—often in the same breath.

And of course, especially these days, they’ve made their rounds on social media, and in a time when the controversy is usually stirred by Facebook and Twitter, it’s the printed word (well, picture, which is worth 1,000 words anyway) that’s sparked the debate.

Research tells us it won’t last long online, merely hours until something else comes along. But since the controversial magazine covers came first—and since magazines in general have an unspecified shelf life—we could be hearing about them for a while.

And that is why print is hardly close to dead.

Newsweek Cover December 26, January 2, 2012

Top 4 Confessions of This Year’s Oscar Nominees

Newsweek December 26, January 2, 2012

Newsweek Dec. 26, Jan. 2, 2012 Double Issue

The Oscars are upon us, and Newsweek offered up some of the juiciest confessions from this year’s nominees.

It’s Oscar season! And that can only mean one thing: a barrage of interviews with some of our favorite stars who are touting their movies before the February 26 broadcast. No interview is more fun or telling than Newsweek’s annual Oscar Roundtable.

George Clooney used to do what before he became “Gorgeous George?” There’s so much ground to cover with these Oscar noms, and Newsweek is giving all the nitty-gritty details–nothing is off limits. Here are just four of the many unexpected confessions given by some of this year’s outstanding performers:

1. “It was a terrible job!” George Clooney (“The Descendants”) used to hawk women’s shoes? Seems years ago an 18-year-old Clooney could be found schlepping around a department store. He tells the magazine, “There was a whole generation of women who had a toe cut off to fit in tight pumps.” Yikes! Good thing he switched his day job!

2. “I did actually pee on tape.” If you thought an actor couldn’t be asked to do more for a role than full-frontal nudity, think again. “Shame” actor Michael Fassbender went a step further for his controversial turn as a sex addict, thus joining “an elite group of actors, including Kate Winslet in ‘Holy Smoke,’ who had to urinate on screen.” Too much information?

3. “I’ll never work with him again!” Contrary to popular belief, actors aren’t the only ones to blame if their films fail–they’re just the most visible scapegoats. Best Supporting Actor favorite Christopher Plummer (“Beginners”) knows exactly who to point the finger at for his 2005 flop “The New World”–director Terrence Malick (currently nominated for Best Director for “The Tree of Life”). Plummer admits, “I love some of his movies very much, but the problem with Terry is he needs a writer, desperately.”

4. “I was terrified of Meryl Streep.” Viola Davis (“The Help”) has become great friends with her “Doubt” costar Meryl Streep; however, Davis was not at all confident of her own skills upon first working with the living legend. How did she prepare for the set? She wrote a 50-page biography on her character. Now that’s dedication to the craft!

Which films and performances stand out to you this award season?

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Mormons, Mitt Romney Having a “Moment,” Says Newsweek Magazine

Newsweek_magazine_subscription_20110606.jpgIf you’re Mormon and you know it, clap your hands! Seriously, give yourself a round of applause because your social status is climbing fast. You’re having a “moment,” or so says the latest issue of Newsweek magazine. Mitt Romney, a devout follower of the Mormon faith and once-again presidential hopeful, has a certain flare on Newsweek’s cover, don’t you think?

The former Massachusetts governor’s head has been superimposed onto the body of a singing, dancing Mormon missionary. “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have similarly hijacked The Great White Way since hitting Broadway with “The Book of Mormon.” The result: 14 Tony nominations. Combine that with the runaway successes of TLC’s “Sister Wives” and HBO’s “Big Love,” and it’s clear: It’s both and lucrative to portray Morman life on stage and screen.

There are other factors that seem to have brought down “the fourth wall” between mainstream media, Middle America, and the Mormon sect. Elizabeth Smart’s nine-month ordeal with fanatic kidnapper Brian David Mitchell turned a nation’s sympathetic ear toward the Utah family, and inevitably, their faith.

The article also cites the 15 Mormons currently holding seats in Congress and highlights GOP candidates Romney and John Huntsmen, Jr., as well as Senate Leader Harry Reid, but folks, we know the truth–even more so after Monday night’s MTV Movie Awards where “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” took home five awards.

That’s right, people. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ought to have bestselling Mormon author Stephenie Meyer on speed dial by now. The stay-at-home-mom author has sold upwards of 40 million books worldwide, all of which have been turned into major blockbuster films. So it really all comes down to the forbidden love between a teenage mortal and her vampire boyfriend.

Is the Mormon faith still taboo in America? More importantly, can Bella and Edward get Romney into the White House go ’round?