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Person of the Year (called Man of the Year or Woman of the Year until 1999) is an annual issue of the United States news magazine and website ''Time'' that features and profiles a person, a group, an idea, or an object that "for better or for worse... has done the most to influence the events of the year". ''Time'' also runs an annual reader's poll that has no effect on the selection, which is made solely by the magazine's editors.

Background

The tradition of selecting a "Man of the Year" began in 1927, with ''Time'' editors contemplating the news makers of the year. The idea was also an attempt to remedy the editorial embarrassment earlier that year of not having aviator Charles Lindbergh on its cover following his historic trans-Atlantic flight. By the end of the year, it was decided that a cover story featuring Lindbergh as the Man of the Year would serve both purposes.

Selection



U.S. presidents

Since the list began, every serving president of the United States has been a Man or Person of the Year at least once with the exceptions of Calvin Coolidge (in office at time of the first issue), Herbert Hoover (the subsequent U.S. president), and Gerald Ford. Most were named Man or Person of the Year either the year they were elected or while they were in office; the only one to be given the title before being elected is Dwight D. Eisenhower, in 1944 as Supreme Commander of the Allied Invasion Force, eight years before his election. He subsequently received the title again in 1959, while in office. Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only person to have received the title three times, first as president-elect (1932) and later as the incumbent president (1934 and 1941).


Women


Prior to 1999, four women were granted the title as individuals: three as "Woman of the Year"—Wallis Simpson (1936), Queen Elizabeth II (1952), and Corazon Aquino (1986)—and one as half of the "Man and Wife of the Year", Soong Mei-ling (1937). "American Women" were recognized as a group in 1975. Other classes of people recognized comprise both men and women, such as "Hungarian Freedom Fighters" (1956), "U.S. Scientists" (1960), "The Inheritors" (1966), "The Middle Americans" (1969), "The American Soldier" (2003), "You" (2006), "The Protester" (2011) represented on the cover by a woman, and "Ebola fighters" (2014). However, the title on the magazine remained "Man of The Year" for both the 1956 "Hungarian Freedom Fighter" and the 1966 "Twenty-five and Under" editions which both featured a woman standing behind a man, and "Men of the Year" on the 1960 "U.S. Scientists" edition which exclusively featured men on its cover. It was not until the 1969 edition on "The Middle Americans" that the title embraced "Man and Woman of the Year". In 1999, the title was changed to Person of the Year. Women who have been selected for recognition after the renaming include "The Whistleblowers" (Cynthia Cooper, Coleen Rowley, and Sherron Watkins) in 2002, Melinda Gates (jointly with Bill Gates and Bono) in 2005, Angela Merkel in 2015, "The Silence Breakers" in 2017, Greta Thunberg in 2019 and Kamala Harris (jointly with Joe Biden) in 2020. In 2020, to celebrate International Women's Day, TIME editors released 89 new Time covers, each showing women, in addition to the 11 already chosen, as counterparts to the Person of the Year choices from the past century.


Groups and non-humans


Despite the name, the title is not just granted to individuals. Pairs of people such as married couples and political opponents, classes of people, and inanimate objects have all been selected for the special year-end issue. ; Multiple named people * Chiang Kai-shek and Soong Mei-ling, President and First Lady of China (1937) * William Anders, Frank Borman and Jim Lovell, crew of Apollo 8 (1968) * Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, political allies (1972) * Ronald Reagan and Yuri Andropov, Cold War rivals (1983) * Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk; Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin, political leaders leading peace negotiations (1993) * Bill Clinton and Ken Starr, key figures in the Clinton impeachment (1998) * Cynthia Cooper, Coleen Rowley and Sherron Watkins, whistleblowers (2002) * Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Bono, philanthropists (2005) * Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, President-Elect and Vice President-Elect (2020) ; Classes of unnamed people * The American fighting-man / The American soldier (1950, 2003) * The Hungarian freedom fighter (1956) * U.S. Scientists (1960) * The Inheritor (1966) * Middle Americans (1969) * American women (1975) * You (2006) * The Protester (2011) * Ebola fighters (2014) * The Silence Breakers (2017) * The Guardians (2018) ; Inanimate objects * The Computer (Machine of the Year, 1982) * The Endangered Earth (Planet of the Year, 1988)


Special awards


In 1949, Winston Churchill was named "Man of the Half-Century", and the last issue of 1989 named Mikhail Gorbachev as "Man of the Decade". The December 31, 1999 issue of ''Time'' named Albert Einstein the "Person of the Century". Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi were chosen as runners-up.


Controversial choices


Despite the magazine's frequent statements to the contrary, the designation is often regarded as an honor, and spoken of as an award or prize, simply based on many previous selections of admirable people. However, ''Time'' magazine points out that controversial figures such as Adolf Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1939 and 1942), Nikita Khrushchev (1957) and Ayatollah Khomeini (1979) have also been granted the title for their impacts. As a result of the public backlash it received from the United States for naming Khomeini as Man of the Year in 1979, ''Time'' has since shied away from using figures who are controversial in the United States for commercial reasons, fearing reductions in sales or advertising revenue. ''Time''s Person of the Year 2001, immediately following the September 11, 2001 attacks, was New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. The stated rules of selection, the individual or group of individuals who have had the biggest effect on the year's news, made Osama bin Laden the more likely choice that year. The issue that declared Giuliani the Person of the Year included an article that mentioned ''Time's'' earlier decision to select Ayatollah Khomeini and the 1999 rejection of Hitler as "Person of the Century". The article seemed to imply that Osama bin Laden ''was'' a stronger candidate than Giuliani, as Adolf Hitler was a stronger candidate than Albert Einstein. The selections were ultimately based on what the magazine describes as who they believed had a stronger influence on history and who represented either the year or the century the most. According to ''Time'', Giuliani was selected for symbolizing the American response to the September 11th attacks, and Albert Einstein selected for representing a century of scientific exploration and wonder. Another controversial choice was the 2006 selection of "You", representing most if not all people for advancing the information age by using the Internet (via e.g. blogs, MySpace, YouTube, and Wikipedia).


Withdrawn selections


In 1941, the fictional elephant Dumbo from the Disney movie of the same name was selected to be "Mammal of the Year", and a cover was created showing Dumbo in a formal portrait style. However, the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7 pre-empted the cover. The U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt was named Man of the Year for a record third time, although Dumbo's Mammal of the Year profile still appeared on the inside pages of the magazine. Film-maker Michael Moore claims that director Mel Gibson cost him the opportunity to be Person of the Year alongside Gibson in 2004. Moore's controversial political documentary ''Fahrenheit 9/11'' became the highest-grossing documentary of all time the same year Gibson's ''The Passion of the Christ'' became a box-office success and also caused significant controversy. Moore said in an interview "I got a call right after the '04 election from an editor from ''Time'' Magazine. He said,' ''Time'' Magazine has picked you and Mel Gibson to be ''Time''s Person of the Year to put on the cover, Right and Left, Mel and Mike. The only thing you have to do is pose for a picture with each other. And do an interview together.' I said 'OK.' They call Mel up, he agrees. They set the date and time in LA. I'm to fly there. He's flying from Australia. Something happens when he gets home... Next thing, Mel calls up and says, 'I'm not doing it. I've thought it over and it is not the right thing to do.' So they put Bush on the cover." On November 24, 2017, U.S. president Donald Trump posted on the social media network Twitter that ''Time'' editors had told him he would "probably" be named Person of the Year for a second time, conditional on an interview and photo shoot which he had refused. ''Time'' denied that they had made any such promises or conditions to Trump, who was named a runner-up.


Online poll


''Time'' magazine also holds an online poll for the readers to vote for who they believe to be the ''Person of the Year''. While many mistakenly believe the winner of the poll to be the ''Person of the Year'', the title, as mentioned above, is decided by the editors of ''Time''. In the first online poll held in 1998, professional wrestler Mick Foley won with over 50% of the votes. Foley was removed from the poll, and the title was given to Bill Clinton and Ken Starr, which led to outrage from the fans of Foley who mistakenly believed the winner of the poll would be the winner of the title. In 2006, the poll winner was Hugo Chávez, with 35% of the votes, but was not selected as Person of the Year. ''Time'' continues to annually run an online poll for the "People's Choice", but stresses the decision on whom the magazine recognizes is not made by the poll, but by the magazine's editors.


Persons of the Year





1920s




1930s



1940s



1950s



1960s



1970s



1980s



1990s



2000s



2010s




2020s





See also


* Canadian Newsmaker of the Year (''Time''), printed in the Canadian issue of ''Time'' until 2008 * Breakthrough of the Year * ''Forbes'' list of The World's Most Powerful People


References





External links


* {{Time Persons of the Year Category:Annual magazine issues Category:Celebrity Category:Time (magazine)