You know how news publications prep for the passing of famous people so they can rush something into print when the time comes? When I wrote for TIME, the famed newsweekly did do that in certain instances. For example, there was a famous ailing person whom the publication took so seriously that for weeks, we stood ready to publish issues with or without a tribute section. Alternatively, if death occurred out of sync with the normal publication schedule, there would have been a standalone commemorative issue. (Naturally, the person in question didn’t leave us until considerably later.)
In the case of Steve Jobs, however, TIME did not have a plan in place. Jobs died on the afternoon of October 5, 2011; that happened to be a Wednesday, and Wednesday afternoons happened to be when TIME sent each issue off to the printer. Miraculously, we were able to pull back the just-completed magazine and come up with an all-Jobs issue which we could assemble in three hours. It included a fabulous portfolio of vintage photos by Diana Walker; an appreciation by Walter Isaacson (a reworked chunk of his then-upcoming biography); and a version of the Jobs obituary/assessment I’d written for TIME.com which my colleague Lev Grossman rapidly (and skillfully) polished up to give it a more magazine-y feel.
Here, from TIME’s 2011 Tumblr
, is a photo–is it really a Polaroid?–documenting the staff hatching the issue at the Time & Life Building.