The Cutline

Time magazine apologizes for putting non-Latino on ‘Yo Decido’ cover

Dylan Stableford
The Cutline

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Time magazine's March 5 issue, hitting newsstands Friday, carries the coverline: "Yo Decido. Why Latinos will pick the next President."

"For the first time in our history, we have a Spanish sentence as our cover line," Rick Stengel wrote in his editor's note.

The cover, illustrating Michael Scherer's story about how Latino voters in Arizona could impact the 2012 presidential election, features the faces of 20 people readers would assume are Latinos.

But at least one of them is not. Michael Schennum, who appears on the cover photo in the top row, half hidden by the letter "M" in Time's iconic logo, says he is half-White, half-Chinese--and definitely not Latino.

Schennum, a staff photographer at the Arizona Republic, was one of more than 150 "Latino" voters photographed by Time photographer Marco Grob in Phoenix earlier this month. But according to Schennum, neither Grob nor Time ever told him the subject of the shoot.

"They never told me what it was for or [asked] if I was Latino," Schenum wrote in his Facebook page, according to his friend Michelle Woo, a blogger for OC Weekly.

The magazine says it's sorry for the mix-up.

"Over the course of three days we photographed 151 people for the current cover," a Time spokeswoman said in a statement to Yahoo News. "We took steps to ensure that everyone self-identified as Latino, that they are registered voters and that they would be willing to answer our questions. If there was a misunderstanding with one of our subjects, we apologize."

Schennum is not featured in the Grob's portraits published on Time.com.

"The terms 'Latino' and 'Latina' have a vast identity of their own," said Grob, who shot Time's "Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience," and was quoted in Time.com's photo essay. "So for the duration of this project we strove to break some of those stereotypes."

As far as Schennum is concerned, they've been broken.

It's worth noting that other Latino voters photographed by Time had a positive experience. Vicente Filerio and Alexis Trujillo, students at Arizona State Univ., said they weren't told they'd be on the cover of the magazine, but volunteered anyway.

"I need to speak for those who can't," Filero told ASU's Downtown Devil.

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