Time vs. Newsweek and the Demise of the English Language

By January 28, 2010Media

I’m a fan of Newsweek. I have been a subscriber and avid, cover-to-cover reader of the magazine for about 20 years. In high school, my family subscribed to Time and given my choice of magazines in a doctor’s waiting room, I’ll choose the Time over Southern Living or People every time.

In 2009 Newsweek underwent a total redesign. It was jarring. The font is different. The editorial content is sometimes indistinguishable from the advertising. Some of my favorite features were dropped. The content seemed less newsy and more, well, editorial. We discussed the change at the dinner table. My husband, irritated by the changes, was tempted to drop the subscription. I’ve wavered. I’m a very loyal consumer and still enjoy the work of the staff and admire and respect Editor-in-Chief Jon Meacham.

It was with all of these thoughts in mind as I selected an issue of Time magazine from the airport newsstand last night as I awaited my departure. * (A Kindle user, and full-flight reader, I require non-electronic reading material for takeoff and landing). I made my way through the issue well beyond the pilot allowing passengers to use electronic devices. Having finished the same week’s issue of Newsweek recently, it was a good real-time comparison of content. Haiti was the cover story of each and similar news coverage throughout. I found myself enjoying Time, and starting to wonder if we could switch. Could we be Time subscribers and drop Newsweek?

And then I saw it.

On the second to last page, in an article about the Sundance Film Festival, there was the following phrase: “sneak peak.”


Peek. Peek. Peek.

Peek – a quick look. Peak – the top, as in, of a mountain. Pique – to increase, or spike, as in interest.


I’ve often had to have the Peek, Peak, Pique conversation with junior writers, college students and the like but come on, a Time reporter (Steven James Snyder, I am not so much looking at you as I am your editors)? Unacceptable.

Incredibly, looking for the article online I am shocked to find that the typo is there as well — in fact, here’s a screen shot as proof, in case the error is caught and really, I hope it is.

How to Couch-Surf the Sundance Film Festival

How to Couch-Surf the Sundance Film Festival

Trust  me; my own children have had this very lecture. They, from a very tender age, have known the difference.

All right; people make mistakes – fair enough. And I certainly don’t claim to be perfect. I understand typos. But this one stopped me so cold in my tracks it helped make the decision easily.

I’m sticking with Newsweek.

*see the second comment below from SJS. I couldn’t leave that crappy sentence the way it was after THAT.


  • SJS says:

    Thanks for the catch, mistakes do happen from time to time. I can promise you that I’ll never do it again, and that there are indeed editors working very hard, not just on the weekly magazine but on dozens of daily stories that post to our site. So it’s not really that people are being lax, just that we’re churning out so much content. The copy is flying by fast and furiously. That said, it seems odd that you would make no comment about the content of the article, only the spelling…

  • SJS says:

    Also: I might make an editing comment of my own about the following sentence –
    It was with all of these thoughts in mind as I selected the issue of Time magazine from the airport newsstand last night as I awaited my departure.

  • Marijean says:

    Ha – touché, SJS. That IS a terrible sentence. Thanks for the response. And in the future, I’ll try to remain focused on content, despite errors, as you have done here.

  • As a fellow blogger (and former grammar teacher!)I guess I’m more forgiving of spelling lapses of unpaid writers.

    I double check all words and sentences in my writing, and sometimes awkward phrasing and typos slip by me; but if someone wants to pay me for writing I’ll quadruple check it!

  • Libby says:

    Miss Polly, I’m with *you* on this one. I don’t care how much copy is “flying by” if you’re paid, you should take more pride in your work. Period.

  • Sean McCord says:

    Well, Park City is 7,000 feet above sea level, so maybe it was a sneak “peak” for those coming from lower climes…?

  • John says:

    Well, can we can refer to their publication as “Newsweak”? 😉