the past three weeks, Newsweek’s covers reflected the good, the bad and
the ugly in American popular culture — and offered a lesson to
magazines at the same time.
The magazine’s editors determined
that there could be as much value in focusing on the hoi polloi
crowding around your office water-cooler as the policy wonks at the
Recently, the weekly’s cover stories
had nothing to do with such Ivory Tower staples as the U.S. economy,
Iraq, the Middle East, President Bush’s declining approval rating or
Wesley Clark’s emergence.
Instead, Newsweek widened its lens
and highlighted the last season of America’s favorite television show,
“Friends” (the good), Kobe Bryant’s rape trial (the bad) and Rush
Limbaugh’s addiction to painkillers (the ugly).
“We make these judgments based on what people are talking about,” said Newsweek Editor Mark Whitaker, 46.