Why Time?

Now that Time has a new editor — the word was that they’d get someone from the outside, but they got a veteran of the magazine — maybe he can explain to me why the magazine exists. Everytime I pick up Time, I come away feeling as if I just chewed their cud. If you read news on the web today, you get a better, quicker, more up-to-date overview. When I see a cover billing that interests me and buy the thing, it’s inevitably a mistake, because I’m reading a stone-skipping summary of something I know about. So why do we need Time? New managing editor Richard Stengel explains:

Mr. Stengel said yesterday that in some ways, the Internet poses the same kind of challenge to newsweeklies that the plethora of competing newspapers posed to Time when Henry Luce founded it in 1923.

“In a similar way, people were looking for one source to speak with authority and explain the world, and in many ways, that’s still our mission,” Mr. Stengel said. “We can be your guide through the forest of confusing information.”

No, actually, I don’t want you to explain the world to me. A guide, perhaps. But I’m sorry, I just don’t see Time as the one source to speak with authority and explain the world. I am quite glad the days are gone when anyone thought they could be that one source.