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Time magazine highlights 'the war on truth'

Time editor Edward Felsenthal says "the first move in the authoritarian playbook is the control of information, the suppression of people who try to get the facts out. And we saw that in a major way" in 2018, which is why the magazine's Person of the Year cover featured "The Guardians," numerous journalists who have been targeted because of their work.

Posted: Dec 17, 2018 4:32 PM
Updated: Dec 17, 2018 4:52 PM

Time is beefing up its newsroom.

The company posted 25 job openings, including 20 for editorial roles, last week. A spokesperson said more will soon follow for roles in technology, sales and marketing.

The hiring spree comes after Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne announced in September that they were purchasing the magazine for $190 million from Meredith Corp.

Editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal told CNN's Brian Stelter on "Reliable Sources" Sunday that the Benioffs were attracted to Time because of the magazine's legacy and "huge progress" in transforming its business for the digital age.

He said the new owners are "excited to help us build on that foundation and believe in the potential of the brand."

The magazine business has struggled in the internet age, and Time's former parent company, Time Inc., endured rounds of layoffs as it lost subscribers and advertising dollars.

Meredith Corp bought Time magazine and the rest of Time Inc. last November, intending to break off and sell its major titles, including Fortune, Money, and Sports Illustrated. The Benioffs did not purchase those magazines.

Marc Benioff told CNN's Laurie Segall in October that he bought Time because he "values storytellers" and pledged to stay out of editorial decisions.

Felsenthal's appearance on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday came after Time made waves with its latest Person of the Year issue. Rather than selecting one subject, four unique covers will honor journalists who have been targeted for their work.

The editor-in-chief told Stelter that the Person of the Year cover intends to capture a "moment in time" — and "the common thread in so many of the major stories of 2018, from Russia to Riyadh to Silicon Valley, was the manipulation and abuse of truth."

The covers, revealed last week, depict what Time calls "the Guardians" of truth.

One cover features Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post contributor who was killed at a Saudi Arabian consulate in October. It marks the first time a deceased person has appeared on a Person of the Year cover.

Another cover features Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Reuters journalists arrested in Myanmar while reporting on abuses against Rohingya people, a Muslim minority in the country. The journalists remain behind bars, and their wives were photographed for the cover.

Journalists at the Capital Gazette — the Annapolis, Maryland newspaper where five employees were murdered by a gunman last June — posed for another cover.

The fourth version shows Maria Ressa, chief executive of the Philippine news website Rappler. She was indicted last month on tax evasion charges, a case that free speech advocates say is part of a wider crackdown on dissent by the government.

"We chose to highlight these four journalists and newsrooms who have taken enormous risks, the ultimate sacrifice in some cases," Felsenthal said, "to speak out and for free expression, which is the lifeblood of democracy, in this year where we saw democracy under such great threat."

CNN Business' Jill Disis contributed to this report.

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