Nation Slams Newsweek, But Who’s Wrong?

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Well, of course Newsweek‘s international edition cover is different from the domestic one (right). That’s been the case for years — many many many years, at least 20 years we can vouch for. And, having been in the editorial meetings, we can tell you it’s nothing invidious — unless you consider American culture invidious. Because, it is, after all, part of an editor’s duty to put on the cover what he thinks his audience will most want, and what will help newsstand sales. It may not be pretty, but it’s the juggle. In fact, many weeks the international covers differ from each other, depending on editors’ assessments of what’s most interesting in those regions. Foreign language ones, too: The Japanese edition this week features the Oliver Stone “9/11” cover, with nary an Afghanistan we can find.

One more thing: You’ll note that the area atop the page in the domestic edition — the “roof” some call it — is devoted to Afghanistan and Al Qaeda. And that is the part that on many newsstands is what’s most visible, when the mag’s tucked in a holster or mixed in with other magazines.

Stories of interest will get read based on being placed on the cover, regardless of their placement. And the issue will be bought, some surveys have found, by what’s in that “roof” as well as what’s the main picture on the cover. So why is The Nation‘s blog calling out this particular cover as opposed to any other when “serious” international news got bumped for more “frivolous” fare in the U.S.?