Celebrating advocacy journalism: TNR salutes High Times

By Christopher B. Daly 

A hat-tip to TNR for recognizing the impact of High Times, the magazine that has stayed laser-focused on its advocacy of legalizing marijuana use in the United States.  (Memo to TNR: in your drive to be resolutely counter-intuitive about everything, you overuse superlatives. High Times is obviously influential to anyone who stops to think about it for a second. You don’t need a headline saying it “may be the most influential.”)

Based in New York, High Times was founded in 1974 by Tom Forcade.

From Wikipedia:

The magazine was founded in 1974 by Tom Forçade of the Underground Press Syndicate.[1] High Times was originally meant to be a joke, a single issue lampoon of Playboy, substituting dope for

First edition

First edition

sex. But the magazine found an audience, and in November 2009, celebrated its 35th anniversary.[2] Like Playboy each issue contains a centerfold photo, but instead of a nude woman, High Times typically features a choice grade of cannabis plant.

The magazine soon became a monthly with a growing circulation audited by ABC reaching 500,000 copies an issue; rivaling Rolling Stone and National Lampoon. The staff quickly grew to 40 people. In addition to high-quality photography, High Times featured cutting-edge journalism covering a wide range of topics including politics, activism, drugs, sex, music and film.

High Times has long been influential in the marijuana-using counterculture. Past contributors include Charles Bukowski,William S. BurroughsTruman CapoteHunter S. Thompson and Andy Warhol.

As I have written elsewhere, this approach to journalism puts High Times squarely in a long, glorious tradition in American journalism: the advocacy tradition.

From Sam Adams to Tom Paine. . .

. . . from William Lloyd Garrison to Frederick Douglass

. . . From Ida B. Wells to Ida Tarbell

. . . from Jacob Riis to Lewis Hine

. . . from Upton Sinclair to Lincoln Steffens

. . . from Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Gloria Emerson

. . . from Jann Wenner to Hunter Thompson

. . . from Westbrook Pegler to Sean Hannity

. . . from the Hearstpress to the Lucepress

. . . from Daniel Ellsberg to Edward Snowden

They’re advocates all!


1 Comment

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One response to “Celebrating advocacy journalism: TNR salutes High Times

  1. Lora Read

    Hi Chris,

    I appreciate your blog on High Times. The list of contributers is Intriguing to me. I don’t know much about the magazine so the fact that it is so old and connected to Playboy and ABC was surprising.

    Your blog caught my attention as I searched for a journalist to interview about the national liegalization of marijuana for an assignment.

    Would you be kind enough to answer a list of eight questions?

    Your help would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

    Thank you.


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