Marc Tracy says the traditional New Yorker cover – bereft of photos, cover-lines, or teasers, and “invented when people sent telegraphs” – is surprisingly well-suited for the Internet age:
Read any article about media today, and you will learn that what travels fastest and most furiously on the web are things that are funny, topical, easy-to-understand, well-branded, and, apart from widely available cultural references, require no further context. I just described a topical New Yorker cover. It is Internet perfection—so perfect you would think it was genetically modified. It out-BuzzFeeds even BuzzFeed. (“This is the cover of this week’s New Yorker,” tweeted @BuzzFeedNews Monday morning.) The Bert and Ernie cover garnered 657 million “impressions” – times people saw it, essentially. That’s a massive number, generated by a perfect Internet storm.