Periodicals Department Collection and State Library Resources


The Big 3 American Newsweeklies

First Issue of Time

First Time cover (03/03/1923) featuring retired House Speaker Joseph G. Cannon.

Time was rolled out in 1923 by partners Henry Luce (1898-1967) and Briton Hadden (1898-1929). They had originally conceived of Time as a concise aggregator of news and analysis pulled from about 90 other publications. It would serve to facilitate conversation among busy -- primarily middle class -- people around the dinner table. However, the magazine far surpassed their initial vision, eventually becoming a vehicle for some of the best journalistic writers of the Twentieth Century. 

Luce biographer, Alan Brinkley, writes, "Part of his [Luce's] considerable achievement was his ability to provide an image of American life that helped a generation of readers believe in an alluring, consensual image of the nation's culture." In his poem America, Allen Ginsberg, representative of a later generation's rebellion against the middle class consensus, asks the nation, "Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time magazine?" Capturing the essence of Time's message, he continues,  "It's always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie producers are serious. Everybody's serious but me."  


First News-Week cover (02/17/1933) featuring an array of photos from the week's news. 


First issue of Newsweek


Newsweek, first published in 1933, has, over the years, consistently occupied the second place postion after Time in terms of newsweekly circulation. It was bought by the Washington Post Company in 1961. The Washington Post Co. is currently [June 2010] trying to sell Newsweek due to its decreased profitability. 



First issue of US News & World Report

The first issue of United States News and World Report on January 16, 1948, combined two weekly publications owned by publisher David Lawrence.

U.S. News & World Report, now a monthly, was a weekly publication until 2008. Unlike its competitors, the magazine did not cover sports and entertainment news. It was especially well-known for its rankings of universities and hospitals. 

All three of the big newsweeklies have underwent "reinvention" in the age of the Internet, with varying degrees of success. Both Time and Newsweek, which in recent decades came closer and closer to resembling Luce and Hadden's original conception of a concise and lightweight digest, have attempted to resposition themselves as weightier magazines with in-depth reportage and commentary. The monthly print U.S. News & World Report is now devoted almost entirely to consumer advice and rankings while its Web site publishes news stories.   


Pratt Holdings

  Time 1923 - present  
  Newsweek 1933 - present  
  U.S. News & World Report

1948 - present