The December 31, 2012, issue of Newsweek magazine was the last print edition.  After years of analysis and planning, Newsweek decided it was time to end an era and move to a purely online format.

Newsweek lived through some interesting and complex diversity developments.  Eleanor Clift analyzes numerous aspects of the changing role of women in society and in Newsweek throughout the magazine’s history.  She writes about a key moment in Newsweek’s evolution on the topic (“When Women Said ‘No’” 12/31/12, pp. 40–50):

“In 1978, Lynn Povich [who later became the magazine’s first female senior editor] . . . suggested a cover on ‘How Men Are Changing’ in a cover conference.  The other editors mocked her, saying she must be having difficulty finding a date in her newly single status after a divorce.  ‘I argued how can you change 50 percent of the population without affecting the other 50 percent?’” (pp. 46–48)

Povich’s point is well taken.  Regardless of the people group, any change in one group affects everyone.  Only people wearing blinders miss that reality.  In my mind, diversity, demographics, and trends are some of the most important and powerful topics for study today, not only for what they tell us about the past but even more so for what they tell us about the future.

Understanding the times is a tall order.  It is tough enough when you just look at things like technology and business.  But if you ignore the people-group element, then you will undermine all your understanding.

Although Povich was laughed at for her idea, she was a discerner of the times.  For Povich to even make the suggestion she did by definition tells us she embraced the importance of diversity, demographics, and trends.  Today we know this is more important than it has ever been.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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