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Adweek: Rolling Stone sales high for 'The Bomber' issue

Posted by Dana Hatic  August 1, 2013 09:40 AM

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By Dana Hatic, Boston.com Correspondent

The controversial issue of Rolling Stone featuring alleged Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev performed well on newsstands despite boycotts from retailers and an uproar from critics who accused the magazine of giving the young man a "rock-star" treatment.

rolling_stone_tsarnaev.jpg
(Courtesy Rolling Stone)
Adweek reported sales numbers from Magazine Information Network indicating 1,420 retailers sold 13,232 copies from July 19-29, more than doubling average magazine sales from the previous year. Though CVS, Stop & Shop, and Tedeschi Food Shops refused to sell copies of the issue alongside widespread ire towards the cover, the extensive publicity boosted sales.

The self-portrait of Tsarnaev used on the cover caused intense reactions, particularly in Boston. Mayor Thomas Menino wrote a letter to Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, saying the cover "rewards a terrorist with celebrity treatment."

Governor Deval Patrick also expressed disappointment with the cover, as did Richard Donohue, an MBTA transit officer who was injured in the shootout with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, on April 18.

The same photo appeared on the front page of The New York Times on May 5, alongside the headline "The Dark Side, Carefully Masked".

Rolling Stone editors released a statement atop the online version of the story, "Jahar's World", saying the cover fell "within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone's long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage" of important issues.

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