''Rolling Stone'' is a biweekly magazine that focuses on popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner, who is still the magazine's publisher, and music critic Ralph J. Gleason. The magazine was first known for its musical coverage and for political reporting by Hunter S. Thompson. In the 1990s, the magazine shifted focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music.〔 In recent years, the magazine has resumed its traditional mix of content.
''Rolling Stone Magazine'' was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner. To get the magazine off the ground, Wenner borrowed $7,500 from his own family and from the parents of his soon-to-be wife, Jane Schindelheim. The first issue carried a cover date of November 9, 1967 and was in newspaper format with a lead article on the Monterey Pop Festival. The cover price was 35¢ (equivalent to $ today).
"At () Gleason's suggestion, Wenner named his magazine after a Bob Dylan song."〔Richardson, Peter (2009). A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America. (The New Press) p. 109〕 Then Wenner stated in the first issue that the title of the magazine referred to the 1950 blues song, "Rollin' Stone", recorded by Muddy Waters, the rock and roll band The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan's hit single "Like a Rolling Stone".〔"You're probably wondering what we're trying to do. It's hard to say: sort of a magazine and sort of a newspaper. The name of it is ''Rolling Stone'' which comes from an old saying, "A rolling stone gathers no moss." Muddy Waters used the name for a song he wrote. The Rolling Stones took their name from Muddy's song. "Like a Rolling Stone" was the title of Bob Dylan's first rock and roll record. We have begun a new publication reflecting what we see are the changes in rock and roll and the changes related to rock and roll."—Jann Wenner, ''Rolling Stone'', November 9, 1967, p. 2〕 ''Rolling Stone'' initially identified with and reported the hippie counterculture of the era. However, the magazine distanced itself from the underground newspapers of the time, such as ''Berkeley Barb'', embracing more traditional journalistic standards and avoiding the radical politics of the underground press. In the very first edition of the magazine, Wenner wrote that ''Rolling Stone'' "is not just about the music, but about the things and attitudes that music embraces."
In the 1970s, ''Rolling Stone'' began to make a mark with its political coverage, with the likes of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson writing for the magazine's political section. Thompson first published his most famous work ''Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'' within the pages of ''Rolling Stone'', where he remained a contributing editor until his death in 2005. In the 1970s, the magazine also helped launch the careers of many prominent authors, including Cameron Crowe, Lester Bangs, Joe Klein, Joe Eszterhas, Patti Smith and P. J. O'Rourke. It was at this point that the magazine ran some of its most famous stories, including that of the Patty Hearst abduction odyssey. One interviewer, speaking for a large number of his peers, said that he bought his first copy of the magazine upon initial arrival on his college campus, describing it as a "rite of passage".
In 1977, the magazine moved its headquarters from San Francisco to New York City. Editor Jann Wenner said San Francisco had become "a cultural backwater."〔Temple, Charles (April 18, 2009) ("Rolling Stone closes last S.F. office." ). San Francisco Chronicle. (Retrieved Aug 13, 2014.)〕
During the 1980s, the magazine began to shift towards being a general "entertainment" magazine. Music was still a dominant topic, but there was increasing coverage of celebrities in television, films and the pop culture of the day. The magazine also initiated its annual "Hot Issue" during this time.
''Rolling Stone'' was initially known for its musical coverage and for Thompson's political reporting. In the 1990s, the magazine changed its format to appeal to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors and popular music. This led to criticism that the magazine was emphasizing style over substance.〔 In recent years, the magazine has resumed its traditional mix of content, including in-depth political stories. It has also expanded content to include coverage of financial and banking issues. As a result, the magazine has seen its circulation increase and its reporters invited as experts to network television programs of note.〔Bill Moyers, (''Matt Taibbi and Yves Smith on the Follies of Big Banks and Government'' ), June 22, 2012〕
The printed format has gone through several changes. The first publications, in 1967–72, were in folded tabloid newspaper format, with no staples, black ink text, and a single color highlight that changed each edition. From 1973 onwards, editions were produced on a four-color press with a different newsprint paper size. In 1979, the bar code appeared. In 1980, it became a gloss-paper, large format (10″×12″) magazine. As of edition of October 30, 2008, ''Rolling Stone'' has had a smaller, standard-format magazine size.〔Rolling Stone ends large format after 4 decades, by Anick Jesdanun, The Associated Press, New York, Life, Tue, October 14, 2008 ()〕
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