American Mass-Market Magazines

By Alan Nourie; Barbara Nourie | Go to book overview

millionaire Howard Hughes. The Irving hoax, in the wake of yet another staff reduction and following the deaths of Bourke-White, Burrows, and Leatherbee, among others, made 1972, Life's last year, a demoralizing struggle for survival. The decision to end Life came in the fall of 1972; even if circulation were drastically cut, huge losses would still be incurred by rising postal rates and the overwhelming competition from television and special-interest publications. Corporate management kept the strictest secrecy about the shutdown because of legal restrictions on disclosure of information, but finally, on 8 December, Life's crew was told that the 29 December 1972 issue would be the magazine's last.

From 1973 to 1977, Life reappeared in two special issues a year, ten in all. In 1978, it was reborn as a monthly publication, with Charles Whittingham as publisher and Philip Kunhardt as managing editor. The new version of Life is a topical feature magazine, with the photographic essay as its corner structure. Its staff is much smaller, and the source of its pictures is a pool of high-quality free-lancers like Eisenstadt, Harry Benson, Eliot Porter, George Silk, and Lennaert Nilsson. The focus of its photojournalism is not the old chase after news, but the "picture magic" that Luce had stressed when the magazine was born. Under the editorship of Kunhardt, Richard Stolley, and Judith Daniels, and with a circulation stabilized at close to two million, Life commands respect once more as an influential record of modern civilization, and continues to fulfill its founder's ambitions of historical importance for his "ten-cent Picture Magazine."


Notes
1.
Loudon Wainwright, The Great American Magazine ( New York: Knopf, 1986), p. 33.
3.
Curtis Prendergast and Geoffrey Colvin, The World of Time, Inc.: The Intimate History of a Changing Enterprise, 1960-1980 ( New York: Atheneum, 1986), p. 42.

Information Sources

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bourke-White, Margaret. Portraits of Myself. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1963.

Cort, David. The Sin of Henry R. Luce. Secaucus, N.J.: Lyle Stuart, 1974.

Elson, Robert T. Time, Inc.: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise, 1923- 1941. New York: Atheneum, 1968.

-----. Time, Inc.: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise, 1941-1960. New York: Atheneum, 1973.

Life Magazine Editors. Life: The First Fifty Years. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1986.

Prendergast, Curtis, and Geoffrey Colvin. The World of Time, Inc.: The Intimate History of a Changing Enterprise, 1960-1980. New York: Atheneum, 1986.

Wainwright, Loudon. The Great American Magazine. New York: Knopf, 1986.

-212-

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