For the past week, news coverage has been highlighting the story of the Rolling Stone cover of the Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and how the public is angry such an iconic magazine would bring glamour to a tragic event in our history. The featured story is about the life and times of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev featuring interviews from high school friends, teachers and law enforcement agents. The point of the story is to showcase how a bright, charming kid who had a very bright future ahead of him turned into a monster.
The United States had come across many terrorists in the past decade that have backgrounds of rough childhoods, mental instability and unknowingly reason as to why they would commit such a heinous crime. The biggest controversial argument spreading about Rolling Stone is why they would highlight a terrorist that killed and injured so many people.
Rolling Stone’s defense was made public on their Facebook page on July 17, 2013 stating, “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. –THE EDITORS”
As people are protesting against the magazine, a few national companies have gone as far as to refuse selling the magazine. CVS and Walgreens announced that this copy of Rolling Stone would not be sold in any of their stores. The Rolling Stone Facebook postings are all followed by comments of how the magazine was wrong to publish his photo on the cover, how they are never buying the magazine again and how the magazine is wrecking their name by iconizing terrorists.
Sales may be going down for this long-time, loved magazine but the news coverage by the media was probably well over their promotional budget. Since the story ran, MSN, USA Today, ABC News and Fox News, just to name a few, have been highlighting this story the past week. Web hits have shown that over 400 people has visited the Rolling Stone website in just one day. Even if sale projections go down, the amount of publicity this news story is getting is beyond what any brand would hope to get. The media, along with the thousands of angry people, are helping Rolling Stone’s name go down in history as putting a terrorist on the cover of an American, iconic magazine.
We agree that the story is important to be told as an awareness to family members and friends to look for warning signs in their loved one, but to slap his picture on the cover may have been going too far. Studies of terrorist are important because people can watch for warning signs and know behavioral changes of a troubled person. Keeping all foul language aside, we would like to hear educated thoughts on how this may hurt the brand, hurt present and future sales and what would have been a good alternative to the cover photo. Maybe featuring photos of the victims and how to protect our future Americans would have been a good substitution?