Time Magazine Cover: “It’s pathetic.”


A striking cover image if I’ve ever seen one. The use of text as the primary means of communication, as opposed to a photograph or illustration, is intriguing to me. And the words on that Time cover are arresting.

This cover story came to be after "the Managing Editors of Time, People, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Essence all went with the company’s Managing Ed to New Orleans in early May. As Time mag’s Richard Stengel explains, they went there to talk, to listen and to report on what’s been going on there since Katrina." And while the other publications had elements within their pages devoted to the aftermath of Katrina, Time magazine took the most aggressive stance and dedicated the most column inches.

The twelve-page cover story got the attention of many bloggers. Some of their thoughts are below:

Your Right Hand Thief:

I like the article, mostly, with some reservations that I don’t have time to explain now. It begins with the strongest and most direct statement about the Federal Flood that I’ve seen in a national publication. If anything, the article nearly overstates the extent to which the catastrophe in New Orleans was a "man made" disaster, and I never ever thought I’d see that. Thanks to Michael Grunwald for writing this story.

Wounded Bird:

I am so pleased that a national news magazine is telling this story.  Maybe now folks in the rest of the country will "get it".

The article is well done. Grunwald did his homework before writing his story, which is more than I can say for other prestigious journalists. I don’t agree with every single statement in the story, but he mostly gets it very right.


Time magazine usually is a pretty tepid slog through mainstream opinion, however, the August 1st issue
has a no-holds-barred article that pretty much calls the New Orleans
rebuild what it is: a pathetic misguided, mismanaged boondoggle…that
won’t do much to protect the city’s residents from future storms.

article is particularly strong in its articulation of the importance of
wetlands to shielding New Orleans and coastal residents from future
storms. Wetlands have a variety of very important functions we depend
on; it’s hard to argue with the primacy of the role of storm defense.

Kicking over my Traces:

This week’s cover story in TIME magazine is all about the sad state of New Orleans two years after Hurricane Katrina.

Not to take anything away from the folks in New Orleans — Lord knows
they tough it out to get from today to tomorrow — but, c’mon, Mainsteam
Media Guys: get out of NOLA!

See also:  Editor & Publisher’s TIME Preview:  New Orleans Still In Grave Danger As Hurricane Season Arrives

UPDATE: For a differing perspective, see the Army Corps of Engineer’s repsonse to the Time article about rebuilding.

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Michelle Ryan

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Michelle Ryan is obsessed with good food, great shoes and Alabama football way down South in Savannah, Georgia. She hasn’t met a kitchen gadget she hasn’t at least thought about buying (trying them is another story) and devotes her time to Bikram Yoga, baking and trying to overcome long-held finicky eating habits.