Are Americans unable to handle some of the grisly truths of the world? Time Magazine might think so. It appears that the world renown magazine’s U.S edition has frequently featured a cover story different than the cover of the international editions circulating in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the South Pacific.
While there certainly is nothing strange about different news stories applying to different countries or even different cities, it is often the case that the international cover story missing from the U.S cover is a global one; after all it is deemed important enough for all of the international covers of the rest of the world. Furthermore, the cover story is often a darker one involving a level of controversy. This revelation has lots of eyebrows raised, especially when people see the different covers of a given month side by side. In an August edition in 2009, a “Welcome to Fabulous LESS Vegas Nevada” covers the U.S edition, while every other edition that same week features “H1N1: How Bad Will it Get”, informing the world on the sweeping Swine Flu at the time. In September 2010, an article offering insight into “Pakistan’s Despair” the U.S Times edition that week highlighted “What makes a School Great”.
Over the past few years there have been multiple examples of this, but it might not be as startling of a difference as some think. A lot of the time the same cover issue is attached to the international and U.S. editions. It is also important to know that the magazines of all editions feature the same articles, with the only significant difference being in the choice of cover story. This week’s Time magazine U.S edition sports a picture of the state of Texas titled “The United States of Texas”. This article was chosen over the article on actor Benedict Cumberbatch, the star of the newly released film “The Fifth State”, which graces the cover of, you guessed it, all international editions. The film is based on the events involving the WikiLeaks scandal, in which Cumberbatch plays the lead of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. The article is titled “Playing Genius”.
So why the different cover stories? Some criticize Time Magazine, citing a failure to properly inform Americans as they do the international audience. Another explanation could be the fact that the covers chosen for the U.S edition simply sell better to the American audience. After all, magazines usually want to write things that people want to read, right? With some covers, like the most recent Benedict Cumberbatch one, some think the magazine avoids publicizing stories more incriminating to the U.S.
What do you think? Should the cover stories be the same across the board to equally inform all audiences? Or should the story more applicable to U.S culture take precedent?