Cultural Timestamps

There is nothing quite so special as the special issue. These stories are household names today, eagerly anticipated by readers across the globe.

Special Issues in Time History

To date, we’ve launched four of the most enduring franchises — Time’s Person of the Year, the Fortune 500, Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue and People’s Sexiest Man Alive. In each case we seized an opportunity — starting in 1928 with Time.


Time’s Person of the Year

Mired in a slow winter, editors shook the publishing world up by putting Charles Lindbergh on the first cover of 1928, with the words “Man of the Year.” That led to annually naming the top newsmaker, later rebranded “Person of the Year.” Learn more about Person of the Year.

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The Fortune 500

In 1955, Fortune Assistant Managing Editor Edgar Smith asked his secretary to cobble together a list of the 500 biggest industrial companies — just to help his staff keep track. He immediately realized the value of publishing the list, creating an immediate success, a lasting sensation and one of the greatest brand names in the business world. Learn more about The Fortune 500.

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Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue

In 1964, Sports Illustrated’s managing editor filled the seasonal gap between college bowl games and baseball’s Opening Day with a snorkeling and swimming Caribbean photo shoot. The Swimsuit issue’s continued success is reflected by the need for stock responses to the annual torrent of reader mail — including our favorite inquiry: Is the model married? Learn more about the Swimsuit issue.

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People’s Sexiest Man Alive

At People, an enterprising picture editor in 1985 had a photo of a young Mel Gibson but no story. The solution? Put the picture on the cover and caption it The Sexiest Man Alive. Serendipity struck again, and another institution was born. Not unlike Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit, People’s Sexiest Man Alive is a little bit of fantasy that consumers have looked forward to for almost 30 years. Learn more about Sexiest Man Alive.

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