The power of the cover: Symbolic contests around the Boston bombing suspect's Rolling Stone cover

Joy Jenkins, Edson C. Tandoc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Rolling Stone ignited a debate in July 2013 when it published a cover featuring alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The online version of the cover story drew comments expressing criticism and support of the cover. A qualitative analysis of comments posted within the first week of the cover story shed light on the image's institutional meaning for Rolling Stone and cultural meaning for readers. Assessing this cover as a critical incident, this study shows how readers, through their comments, participated in the ongoing boundary work in the journalistic field, joining journalism's interpretive community in defining professional roles, norms, and routines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-297
Number of pages17
JournalJournalism
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© SAGE Publications.

Keywords

  • Boundary work
  • Rolling Stone
  • interpretive communities
  • online comments
  • symbolic contests

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