Abstract

A Businessman’s Holiday: The Time Newstour and the Forging of a Multinational Mindset

Between 1963 and 1985, the magazine publisher Time Inc. whisked more than 150 top U.S. business executives around the world as part of its invite-only Newstour program. Recruited from the nation’s largest corporations and traveling in groups of 20 to 30, Newstour participants held court with presidents, premiers, prime ministers, ministry heads, sultans, generals, foreign CEOs, and others, all the while hobnobbing with each other on two-week journeys organized by Time Inc.’s editorial brain trust. Planning itineraries, lining up appointments, booking flights, and enlisting its foreign correspondents as tour guides, the publishing giant transformed itself into the world’s most exclusive travel agency. Altogether, Time Inc. hosted nine Newstours during this period, building them around global hotspots: Western Europe and the Soviet Union (1963), Southeast Asia (1965), Eastern Europe (1966), The Far East (1969), The Middle East (1975), Africa/Mid East (1978), Eastern Europe/Mideast (1981), Mexico (1983), and the Pacific Rim (1985). Drawing on material from the Time Inc. archives, this paper explores the Newstours, providing an overview of the program and examining its role in the broader globalization of corporate capitalism in the late-twentieth century. For Time Inc., the Newstours were institution-building exercises meant to demonstrate the publisher’s global clout to national business leaders. For the travelers, the Newstours were a kind of working vacation. They offered opportunities to scope out global markets and establish relationships with foreign officials in an era when the corporations they ran were reinventing themselves as multinational enterprises. Crucially, though, the Newstours also furnished a distinct type of spatio-temporal experience in which US business executives and journalists could reimagine themselves as members of a transnational network of elite actors collectively forging a more thoroughly integrated planetary community.