The Power of TIME

4 minute read
Sam Jacobs is Editor in Chief at TIME where he leads TIME’s global newsroom and its journalism across all platforms. Since joining TIME in 2013, Jacobs has held a variety of senior editorial leadership positions. Previously, he was national political correspondent at Reuters, associate editor at Newsweek and staff reporter for The Daily Beast. His writing has appeared in the Boston Globe and New York Observer.

Last year, residents of Yahidne, Ukraine, were kept captive in a basement guarded by Russian soldiers for nearly a month. Working with Ukrainian journalists, TIME published the villagers’ photographs and their incredible story of survival. A photograph sent to us some weeks later captured the villagers seeing themselves in our pages. As TIME’s new Editor in Chief, I will be hanging that picture in my office—a reminder of the power, purpose, and vitality of TIME’s journalism, and the responsibility we have to tell the world’s stories.

Anna Ilchenko

On Feb. 7, 1922, Briton Hadden wrote a letter to his mother saying he had quit his job at the Baltimore News (sorry, mom!) and was working with his former classmate Henry Luce to start a new company. Hadden was confident that within seven weeks, the pair would know whether their idea for a new kind of publication would be a success. It was, and 101 years later, it remains so: Today, the work of TIME’s global newsroom reaches the largest audience in its history, 105 million people across all platforms.

TIME’s high-impact journalism serves as the foundation of the growth of our company, which has been independent since its purchase in 2018 by our owners and co-chairs Marc and Lynne Benioff, extraordinary supporters of our work and our mission. TIME is led by our CEO Jessica Sibley, a champion for TIME’s journalism and TIME’s future. Welcoming new audiences is key to that future: Readers under the age of 35 account for 45% of TIME’s global audience, a fact that no doubt would have pleased our 20-something founders. Our readership includes more than 50 million social media followers and one million subscribers, making our print magazine the largest U.S. title in news. Over the past six years, under the leadership of my friend and predecessor Edward Felsenthal, we have also vastly expanded the platforms for TIME’s journalism, including our Emmy-Award winning film and television division, TIME Studios, and our rapidly growing global live events business, anchored in the TIME100 and Person of the Year franchises.

On a recent visit to my parents, I discovered a long-forgotten grade-school project: my classmates and I made our own versions of an issue of TIME as a history assignment. Fellow Brookline, Mass., native John F. Kennedy was on the cover of my TIME. I could not be more thrilled to have the opportunity to make the real thing every day with my colleagues, in all the forms and formats that reach you today. I’ve been so fortunate to spend my career in journalism—something I have wanted to do since not long after that history assignment. I’ve learned there’s nowhere better to work than a newsroom, and nowhere quite like TIME, with its rare global reach and range.

Throughout all of its journalism, from its iconic red border to our thriving digital journalism, TIME is about people. We cover the people who shape and improve the world. We convene people across divides and perspectives. And we serve people. We deliver trusted guidance that helps people lead safer, healthier, better and more enjoyable lives. The immense privilege of doing this work is getting to hear from individuals who have been changed by our words, images and video.

Five of the people who shape and improve our world are covered in this issue via the TIME CO2 Earth Awards. TIME CO2, launched in 2022, is our commitment to supporting the planet and fighting climate change, and we are so fortunate to be gathering with all the first Earth Award honorees along with members of the TIME CO2 community in New York City on April 25.

We believe that in an age of division, the world deserves an editorial platform that brings people together, provides a common narrative and a sense of shared purpose and progress. In a world of distrust, the need for the trusted journalism from TIME has never been greater.

At the core of that work is TIME’s journalism and the people who make it, a team of immensely talented editors, reporters, and producers which today stretches from New York and Washington to London and Singapore, supported by colleagues and contributors everywhere in between. The innovation and tenacity this team has shown in the last few years—working across era-defining stories, industry-wide change, and a once-in-a-century pandemic—is inspiring. We are deeply committed to this work and grateful for your support of it. Please continue to let us know how we are doing and what we can do better.

This is Sam Jacobs’s first Editor’s letter. It appears in the May 8, 2023 issue of TIME.

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