Time, Person of the Year

po_Time1982Person of the Year (called Man of the Year until 1999) is an annual issue of the United States news magazine Time that features and profiles a person, group, idea or object that “for better or for worse…has done the most to influence the events of the year”.

The tradition of selecting a “Man of the Year” began in 1927, with Time editors contemplating news makers of the year. The idea was also an attempt to remedy the editorial embarrassment earlier that year of not having aviator Charles Lindbergh on its cover following his historic transatlantic flight. By the end of the year, it was decided that a cover story featuring Lindbergh as the Man of the Year would serve both purposes.

Since then, individual people, classes of people, the computer (“Machine of the Year” in 1982), and “Endangered Earth” (“Planet of the Year” in 1988) have all been selected for the special year-end issue. Despite the magazine’s frequent statements to the contrary, the designation is often regarded as an honor, and spoken of as an award or prize, simply based on many previous selections of admirable people. However, Time magazine points out that controversial figures such as Adolf Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1939 and 1942), Nikita Khrushchev (1957) and Ayatollah Khomeini (1979) have also been granted the title for their impacts.