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Who will win the magazine cover wars?

The cover of the most recent issue of Newsweek.
The cover of the most recent issue of Newsweek.

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Barack Obama has been married to a woman for about 20 years but according to this week’s cover of Newsweek he just became our first gay president. It was his statement last week supporting gay marriage that did the trick. It even prompted republican Senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, to say Obama’s policies “couldn’t get any gayer.”

Needless to say, the cover story is getting a lot of attention. Last week, Time magazine’s cover story about “attachment parenting” caused a tremendous stir with the picture of a young mother breast feeding her three year old son.

What are the ethical, journalistic and business implications of the decisions to run these covers? Are these news magazines entering into a new cover wars phase designed to make them more relevant?


Kelly McBride, Senior Faculty for Ethics at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg