People is 30? No way

first peoplePeople is 30? No way: The 30th anniversary edition of People Magazine hits the newsstands today. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Don O’Briant has a good profile of the magazine.


“…1974 also was the beginning of a wave of celebrity culture that People caught like an expert surfer and rode to become one of the most successful magazines in the business. As the glossy weekly marks its 30th anniversary today with a 282-page issue, it can celebrate being the boomer bible for pop culture and a mirror of American life. An estimated 36 million readers turn to the publication each week to learn who’s hot and who’s not….The timing of People’s debut was significant: It was launched when many readers wanted a respite from politics and war, the equivalent of magazine comfort food.”

Any mention of the history of People must include a reference to Dick Stolley, about whom I’ve blogged several times in the past, including this post over two years in which I wrote:

Richard Stolley, the founding editor of People, would be on a magazine Mt. Rushmore if there was such. He’s famous for the quote about People Magazine covers, “Young is better than old. Pretty is better than ugly. Rich is better than poor. TV is better than music. Music is better than movies. Movies are better than sports. Anything is better than politics. (and, later added) Nothing is better than the celebrity dead.” He’s still active as a senior editorial advisor at Time Inc. and is still a voice to be heard.

Dick’s name came up on Monday when I had dinner with Jeff Jarvis, whose magazine career included a stint at People (TV picks & pans).

I’ll end by admitting that I wish I read People, but don’t. I will this week, however. Also, in seeing the design of that original cover with Mia Farrow on it, I must say that the earlier design is more compelling to me than its current cover design. But that’s just me.