On Paper, Time Puts an End to Life

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By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Life is dead. Again.

Time Inc. pulled the plug on its venerable nameplate yesterday for the third time in 35 years, saying it no longer makes sense to print the publication as a magazine. Instead, the company said it will launch a "major portal" online to host its millions of award-winning photographs.

Life died for the first time in 1972. It was resuscitated as a monthly from 1978 to 2000. It rose from the grave again in October 2004 as a weekly newspaper supplement, a much thinner version of its former self.

The magazine launched by Henry Luce as a weekly in 1936 became part of the U.S. cultural conversation of the 20th century, showing Americans exotic scenes from far-flung lands in a pre-television era and creating some of the century's iconic images.

The Washington Post began inserting Life in its Thursday editions in January. The magazine was carried by 103 newspapers, Time Inc. said, including the Los Angeles Times, reaching 13 million readers.

In a statement, Time Inc. blamed declining newspaper circulation for Life's most recent demise.

"The market has moved dramatically since October 2004 and it is no longer appropriate to continue publication of Life as a newspaper supplement," said Chairman Ann Moore.

Time Inc. said Life's Web site will launch later this year and feature about 10 million images, 97 percent of which have never been seen by the public. The collection includes work from Dust Bowl chronicler Margaret Bourke-White and Gordon Parks, perhaps best known as the director of 1971 movie "Shaft."

The Post received a nominal fee, which it did not disclose, for distributing Life as an insert.

"We regret that the publication will not continue," Post spokesman Eric C. Grant said.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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