“We’re getting back to the people who are causing the news and who are caught up in it, or deserve to be in it. Our focus is on people, not issues.” Richard Stolley (1)
Today in 1974, Time, Inc. published People Magazine for the first time. Built in response to the success of its predecessor, TIME, People was designed around the theory that, “names make news.”
Richard Stolley, People’s founding Managing Editor, is best-known for uncovering the Zapruder tapes of the John F. Kennedy assassination in 1963. He is attributed with the magazine’s extreme early success due to his strict focus on keeping the magazine’s content in line with its mission. Time, Inc. reportedly invested $40 million into the venture, and broke even only 18 months later.
Mia Farrow was on the cover of the first edition, as she was promoting her film, The Great Gatsby, at the time. The premiere also featured stories by Gloria Vanderbilt and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. It was originally printed entirely in black-and-white, excluding a colored cover, and sold for 35 cents.
Since its inaugural edition, People has become one of the highest grossing magazines in the country, inspiring several offshoots, like People Stylewatch and People en Español. Today, People continues to cover the “names,” proving that names do make news, as it has the largest readership of any American magazine.
Congratulations, People, on 39 successful years – here’s to many more!
Written by Annie Wazer, Marketing Coordinator for real-time trend insights company Stylitics. Annie can often be found wearing leather leggings and has never met a cup of coffee she didn’t like.