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TIMELY COVER: Time magazine may see a bump on its newsstand sales with its current issue, and without the aid of a bosomy, breast-feeding mom.
Though the magazine has been accused of sensationalism to goose up newsstand sales — which have seen a decline so far this year — this week’s cover story on immigration reform was perfectly timed to a new White House immigration policy that was unveiled by President Obama Friday morning.
Time editor Richard Stengel said the timing was sheer serendipity — not that he doesn’t appreciate the impact the currency of the issue will have on the newsstand. “I was surprised, too, and pleasantly surprised,” Stengel said.
The White House did not give the magazine a heads up the policy would be revealed this week, said Stengel. However, editors had contacted the Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns for comment on the piece.
The cover comes on the heels of the magazine’s already aggressive coverage of immigration; in March, it had another cover titled “Yo Decido” on the influence of Latino voters. The cover was the first time the magazine’s American edition was in a foreign language.
Stengel believes immigration and the impact of demographic shifts on the election will be some of the biggest stories of the year, and he anticipates the subject will land on the cover again before the year is over.
This week’s cover story was scheduled to coincide with the one-year anniversary of journalist Jose Antonio Vargas’ blockbuster coming out as an undocumented immigrant on the cover of The New York Times magazine. Stengel approached Vargas about six months ago.
Weighing on the decision to put the piece on the cover is also the fact that the Supreme Court is expected to make a decision soon on the constitutionality of Arizona’s controversial 2010 immigration law.
“We think about covers in strategic ways,” Stengel said. “With the Supreme Court ruling, and the one-year anniversary, it seemed like a good time.”
He expects the issue to sell as well as another timely issue from August, when the European economic union seemed on the verge of collapse and Time slapped on the cover an image of a London protester underneath the headline, “The decline and fall of Europe.”