Rolling Stone is facing a social media sandstorm in the wake of their latest magazine cover featuring a self-taken photo of the Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. What’s your take?
USA Today gives a quick, comprehensive video on the story and Rolling Stone‘s intentions behind it.
Not long after the cover went viral, Rolling Stone released the full story online, accompanied by a letter from the editors:
“Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families. The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day. The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens.
As the USA Today video points out, this isn’t the first time Rolling Stone has challenged the standards of cover imagery. Sensitive and controversial photos have their place among the back issues. Almost 40 years ago, serial killer Charles Manson was the face of their magazine. Two of their most iconic covers feature a nude John Lennon and a topless Janet Jackson.
But where is the line drawn between journalism with integrity and intolerably insensitive material, and has Rolling Stone crossed it?