Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner, who is still editor and publisher, and music critic Ralph J. Gleason.
The magazine was known for its political coverage beginning in the 1970s, with the enigmatic and controversial gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Rolling Stone magazine changed its format in the 1990s to appeal to younger readers, often focusing on young television or film actors and pop 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, and has seen its circulation increase.
To get the magazine off the ground, Wenner borrowed $7,500 from his family members and from the family of his soon-to-be wife, Jane Schindelheim. The first issue carried a cover date of November 9, 1967. Rolling Stone magazine was initially identified with and reported on 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." This has become the de facto motto of the magazine.
In the 1970s, Rolling Stone began to make a mark for its political coverage, with the likes of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson writing for the magazine's political section. Thompson would first publish 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 large numbers of his peers, said that he bought his first copy of the magazine upon initial arrival on his college campus, which he described as a "rite of passage".
During the 1980s the magazine began to shift focus towards being a general "entertainment" magazine. Music was still a dominant topic but there was increasing coverage of celebrities in television, movies and the pop culture of the day. The magazine also initiated its annual "Hot Issue" during this time.
The printed format has gone through several changes. The first publications 1967-72, were folded tabloid newspaper format, no staples with black ink text, and a single color highlight that changed each edition. From 1973 on, editions were done on a 4 color press with a different newsprint paper size. In 1979 the bar code appeared. In 1980 it became a gloss paper large format 10 x 12 magazine. As of the October 30th, 2008 edition, Rolling Stone is a smaller, standard-format magazine size.