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If, as the digitally motivated doomsayers say, print is truly dead, it received one hell of a Dr. Frankenstein-like bolt of resuscitation last night.
Out of nowhere, the always provocative New York debuted their latest issue’s cover online before its newsstand premiere this week—because, well, it's imperative for magazine publishers to break their own news rather than letting other outlets simply take camera phone shots of their covers and scooping them via traffic-grabbing blog posts. And by doing so, New York sent shock waves around the Internet with the cover-line "Cosby: The Women" and a striking image of 35 of Bill Cosby’s reported 46 accusers posing together, in seats, with one empty seat at the bottom.
It’s one of those amazing magazine covers that immediately feels classic the second you see it, and it’s proof that print will always supersede digital when it comes to pop-culture-shaking events of its kind. Those 35 women aren’t going to convene for a TMZ blog post. They all know how major the moment would be, and made sure they assembled in a way that’d leave a permanent image in people’s minds, which is what the greatest magazine covers of all time have all done.
How effective was New York’s print-focused power move? Whether intentionally because of the Cosby slander or just one of those inexplicable cosmic coincidences, a hacker named ThreatKing broke into New York’s website and shut the whole thing down. ThreatKing, through an online post, claims to not have seen the cover yet, "lol," but the timing is almost too on-the-nose to be unplanned. We’ll let cyber investigators handle that matter, though.
Instead, let's celebrate what New York has done here, outside of the enormous statements the cover image and its accompanying feature story make: the mag has confirmed the conversation-starting advantages that print has over digital. The Cosby-targeting cover is the latest addition to a recent string of magazine covers, all of which you can see in the slideshow above that have captured modern pop culture's biggest moments and social activism's most important topics with a defiant attitude of, "Webmasters, be damned."
Consider the above gallery a rallying cry for the #PrintMatters movement.