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How Time Magazine Went Wrong

Posted By Scott Baradell On March 16, 2007 @ 1:44 pm In Photojournalism | No Comments

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In Time’s first issue showing off its Economist-influenced redesign, the cover photo illustration depicts Ronald Reagan shedding a Photoshopped tear.

Radar Online [2] had fun with the image and Time’s “somewhat cryptic credit”:

Photograph by David Hume Kennerly.
Tear by Tim O’Brien.

Radar opines:

Nowhere does it specifically state that the cover is a photo illustration — in other words, that it’s Photoshopped.

The use of a striking but fabricated image is consistent with the vision laid out by new managing editor Rick Stengel, who has said he wants Time to be more like The Economist—the British newsweekly that often features humorous photo illustrations on its cover. Still, one wonders: Is the wording of the credit enough to make its provenance clear to unsophisticated readers?

Steve Lovelady [3], on Jim Romenesko’s journalism blog, offers a different criticism:

The problem is that the tear looks like a giant blob of Krazy Glue, not a tear. Reagan would have never gone around with a giant blob of Krazy Glue on his face.

Time, for its part, cited the magazine’s history of running “conceptual covers” and said that both the photograph and tear were “clearly credited.”

[tags]photo illustrations, Photoshop, Time, Reagan[/tags]

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[2] Radar Online: http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2007/03/tale-of-tears-reagan-time.php

[3] Steve Lovelady: http://poynter.org/forum/view_post.asp?id=12388

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