Newsweek Covers

Ninety-one-year-old audio tycoon Sidney Harman's purchase of Newsweek yesterday was greeted with internal cheers. But a look inside the magazine's financial records, leaked to The Daily Beast, reveals its new crisis.

Civil Rights Movement, 1967

Newsweek distinguished itself with spirited coverage of the civil rights movement. In this 1967 cover story, then-editor Osborn Elliott wrote, "To deal with the racial crisis effectively, there must be a mobilization of the nation's moral, spiritual and physical resources, and a commitment on the part of all segments of U.S. society." The issue garnered several accolades, including the Columbia University School of Journalism's Magazine of the Year award.

Newsweek Goes Mod, 1965

Equally committed to the cultural and the political landscape of the 1960s, a 1965 cover of the magazine featured model (and mod icon) Jean Shrimpton. The accompanying article, “The Girl, The Face, The Shrimp,” featured Nicky Haslam gushing, “She’s hopelessly sexy,” and chronicled her background in minute detail that foreshadowed the celebrity coverage that developed in the decades to follow.

Moonwalk in Color, 1969

With a full color spread of photos from the first-ever moonwalk in 1969, the magazine ensured that its coverage would be just as much a part of the event’s history as Neil Armstrong’s famous, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” statement. The landing was considered such a landmark that Oz Elliott actually delayed Newsweek’s press run until it was known whether or not Apollo 11 had landed safely, saying, “How often is something like this going to happen?”

Robert Kennedy Jr., 1968

With a nation already reeling from the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. just two months before, Newsweek responded to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s assassination in June 1968 with a simple but telling cover of the presidential candidate in front of an imposing picture of his older brother. The article, “Bobby’s Last, Longest Day” described in visceral detail the death of “the third great U.S. leader to die at the hand of an assassin in less than five years” and the factors behind Kennedy’s decision to run in one of the most turbulent elections in United States history. “He had always carried the late President's wounds like stigmata,” said the article.

Disco!, 1976

The magazine was known for having its finger on the pulse not only of the political but also the social and the cultural. In 1976 Maureen Orth wrote of disco's ability to seduce "the Beautiful People, the bourgeoisie and the blue-collar worker alike."

The Death of a Beatle, 1980

Similar to its simple, sparse cover after Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s assassination, the magazine featured a basic black-and-white headshot of John Lennon while the nation mourned the iconic musician’s death in 1980. Tom Mathews’ cover story, “The Death of a Beatle,” released two weeks after Lennon’s death, served as a first step in a national mourning process, and 25 years later the magazine followed up with Yoko Ono, who likened the event and its fallout to “a Shakespearean drama.”

Hitler's 'Diaries', 1983

Newsweek trumpeted the arrival of this 1983 issue, taking out full-page ads in The Washington Post and The New York Times to advertise the 13-page cover story on Adolf Hitler's "secret diaries." It was only in the fifth paragraph of said ads that the validity of the diaries was called into question: "Are they real?" The diaries were later found to be a hoax.

The Marriage Crunch, 1986, 2006

In 1986 Newsweek made waves by boldly announcing that a single 40-year-old woman was "more likely to be killed by a terrorist" than to tie the knot. Twenty years later, the magazine revisited that claim, catching up with 11 of 14 of the single women profiled in the initial story. The 2006 story painted a far rosier picture for the single woman in America.

Wimp Factor, 1987

The 1987 cover story claiming that some Republicans believed that then-Vice President George H.W. Bush might not be "strong enough or tough enough for the challenges of the Oval Office," not surprisingly, rubbed the Bushes the wrong way. Dubya even called the magazine's White House correspondent to inform him that "Newsweek's been cut off. You're out of business."

The Tooth Controversy, 1997

This shot of the parents of septuplets was no ordinary photo: Newsweek glammed up mother Bobbi McCaughey by straightening and whitening her teeth, a decision that got a lot of attention.

September 11, 2001

The magazine's first issue after its 9/11 Extra Edition examined the United States' decade-long war on terror and revealed that investigators knew in the week prior to the attacks that the hijackers were channeling money back to the Middle East.

Retouching Controversy, 2005

These days, a hullabaloo over the liberal use of Photoshop seems almost quaint, but in 2005 the National Press Photographers Association called this cover, in which Martha Stewart's head was superimposed onto a model's body, "a total breach of ethics" and "completely misleading to the public."

Palin Close-Up, 2008

Complaints if you do, complaints if you don't: In 2008 Newsweek came under fire for running an unretouched photo of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. On Fox News, Republican media commentator Andrea Tantaros called the cover a "clear slap in the face... Why? Because it's unretouched. It highlights every imperfection that every human being has. We're talking unwanted facial hair, pores, wrinkles."

A Hyped Redesign, 2009

This 2009 issue featuring President Obama marked Newsweek's much-hyped resdesign. In an Editor's Note, Jon Meacham wrote, "There is a simple idea behind the changes in the issue of Newsweek you are holding: we are betting that you want to read more, not less. Other media outlets believe you just want things quick and easy. We think you will make the time to read pieces that repay the effort."