Founded in 1967 by Jann Wenner (still at the helm), Rolling Stone Magazine has managed to stay on the leading edge of journalism for more than 40 years. With articles from some of the most topical writers over the years Rolling Stone is much more than a counterculture publication and has been for many years.
Just in the last two weeks Michael Hastings excellent and fascinating article The Runaway General http://bit.ly/cepMPs was singlehandedly responsible for President Obama’s sacking of top General Stanley A. McChrystal. I personally was impressed at how Mr. Hastings was able to get such a level of information and candor from General McChrystal, such that there were no denials – highly unusual in today’s media.
Last July Matt Taibbi’s piece on Goldman Sachs – ‘The Great American Bubble Machine’ http://bit.ly/d3odRB was a smoking gun and a great read if not a slanted position statement.
What is also interesting is that I am not a subscriber to Rolling Stone and never have been. But I am able to read the articles that interest me in some form or another. The pieces are often long reads (evidence to the contrary that people won’t read a long article anymore?) but to me they seem unshackled by the heavy hand of a timid editor.
One of my favorite all-time movies is Almost Famous. It tells the story of a fifteen year old would-be Rolling Stone writer who sets out to do an expose on a fictional 1970’s rock group. As a period piece it is one of the best I’ve ever seen in capturing the feel of the mid 1970’s. It also does a great job of portraying Rolling Stone Magazine in its early days and you can clearly see the development of its journalistic culture.
There’s an ongoing debate on the future of magazines between Samir Husni http://www.mrmagazine.com/ and Bob Sacks http://www.bosacks.com. The debates are lively and the encounters often provocative. Recently the description of ‘what is a magazine’ is at the forefront.
Rolling Stone has been and remains a very good magazine. Whether it is read in print, online, an I-Pad, Kindle, or any other device you can think of. Why? Because it has compelling content that engages readers. Simple enough concept not executed nearly enough.
Guess it’s time I subscribe finally. The question is will I? Do you? Will you?