The U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph collection depicts topics that were of interest for the magazine's coverage of U.S. business and political news topics, with particular emphasis on Washington, D.C., and the United States, and some foreign relations coverage. It features images depicting political and governmental activities, business and economic developments, industry, education, domestic life, transportation, communication, health care, and housing.
Beyond the subjects the photographers covered, the collection as a whole is well primed for photojournalism studies. The principal access to the images is through contact sheets that enable researchers to view the film negatives in the collection contact-printed onto paper, which enables researchers to observe the sequence of images the photographers made in the course of their coverage and to see some of the magazine editing marks and proof prints that provide clues about the editorial selecting process. The collection, therefore, invites questions about the perspective and processes of a magazine and the photojournalists who worked for it in the mid- to late-twentieth century.
Particular areas of subject strength are highlighted below.
Researchers have found helpful coverage of political campaigns and conventions, congressional hearings, press conferences, foreign policy activities and foreign affairs. Events portrayed include the Watergate hearings and statesmen's visits (for example, Richard Nixon's 1958 trip to the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev's 1959 visit to the United States, and Fidel Castro's 1959 trip to the United States). Depictions of Supreme Court activities, including judges, court decisions and events are also represented.
Depictions of people are prolific in the collection, including national political, religious, and cultural leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., and Henry Kissinger, as well as international leaders such as Golda Meir, Anwar Sadat, and Menachem Begin. Although celebrities in the arts and entertainment fields are less numerous in the collections, they do show up in the context of news-making appearances, sometimes relating to political activism. There are depictions of events and incidents in the political careers of men who became presidents (Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush), although there are fewer images from their presidential terms than from other parts of their careers, as the U.S. News & World Report company retained some of these images for their own use.
The collection's photographs by U.S. News & World Report staff photographers of activities and actions relating to African-American civil rights makes it one of the division's richest sources of rights-free images of this movement. The coverage tends to focus on demonstrations, meetings, hearings, and the aftermath of racially motivated violence, rather than showing violent confrontations in progress, as is characteristic of civil rights photographs that have become associated with the period.
Coverage includes federal buildings and monuments, including some aerial views. The photographers documented areas of the city that were subject to urban renewal as well as Washington, D.C. suburbs.
The collection is a good source of images relating to technological developments during the era, including space exploration and flight and the introduction of computers. The photographs also show the development and marketing of consumer products such as televisions and automobiles, product safety innovations, as well as energy alternatives and economic circumstances that affected consumers, such as gas rationing. In portraying consumer and other news topics, photographers often captured depictions of gender roles, including women's growing role in the work force and as consumers.