Editorial Cage Fight

A New Yorker article revisits one of its great conflicts when founding editor Harold Ross aimed to define his magazine against the rising Time magazine.

While Time famously said it wanted to be read by all Americans, Ross snootily pasted posters all across New York stating his magazine was “not edited for the old lady in Dubuque.”

Time hit back by parodying the New Yorker’s first cover and correspondence from a “female Dubuquian” who reviewed the New Yorker saying that “there is no provincialism so blatant as that of the metropolitan who lacks urbanity”.

In today’s age of internet news it is amazing that Time was once thought of as a publication for Americans too busy to read the news. The New Yorker made a name for itself with its longer content such as the four-part serial by Truman Capote in the 1960s that In Cold Blood.

Given that both magazines had editorial offices on the same floor of 25 West Forty-fifth Street, it’s incredible that neither editor resorted to violence.