The Power of a Great Cover
It's funny the way a magazine cover can still stop you in your tracks—literally, to use an expression that only makes sense in the context of print. New York magazine's post-Sandy cover does just that, with an almost unbelievably (in the age of Photoshop) powerful photo showing the storm's blackout covering the lower portion of Manhattan like a shadow. As great as the photo is, you have to wonder if it would have garnered as much attention if it were not a cover—if it were simply, say, featured alongside an online article from the magazine. The title, the bleak tagline, even the UPC code, all suggest a moment in time that dominated media and captured the attention of a nation. The choice of the photo by the magazine's editors conveys legitimacy and gravitas.
The cover choice also helped create a backstory, because the singular attention it received drew attention to the circumstances of its being taken—Dutch photographer Iwan Baan, hovering high above the reeling city in a rented helicopter. Baan created an iconic photo in a week full of big stories, but as far as its importance goes (and ability to stick out in memory), placement still matters, even if most people only saw the cover online.