Time Magazine released its much anticipated “Person of the Year” on Wednesday morning, giving Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg the title for 2019.
The process to select the “Person of the Year” begins in late summer or early fall, when the newsroom has a “giant meeting” during which everybody presents their choice, Time Senior Editor Haley Edwards told YFi AM. The magazine ends up with a list of 30-40 contenders.
“Actually, I think baby Yoda maybe made the list sort of briefly,” Edwards told YFi AM. “Everyone you can think of in all of these different genres ... A lot of people in the newsroom don't even know what the choice is going to be until the very end.”
Edwards added that the criteria for the title boils down to, “who is most influential on the world that year” regardless of whether that influence is positive or negative.
“With Greta, you know, she's 16 years old. She just — by sheer force of will, she walked out there — skipped school, sat down. And 14 months later, there are 7 million people out climate striking,” she added.
Thungberg, 16, became the youngest figure to ever receive the title in the 92 years since its introduction.
Businessperson and entertainer of the year
Time also breaks down the title into categories, including “Businessperson of the Year” and “Entertainer of the Year” with the choices being Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger and the singer Lizzo respectively.
Edwards says that Disney+’s 10 million subscriber launch day had a lot to do with their choice. “You know, he's just sort of the top of this incredible organization in an incredible year,” she said.
Edwards also points out that it’s difficult for these conversations not to have political undertones.
“We are living through the impeachment proceeding of a president,” she says. “You can't really sidestep them.”
McKenzie DeGroot is a producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @degrootmckenzie