Rolling Stone has come under fire for its insensitive glamorization of surviving accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and rightfully so given that it failed to highlight the most important individuals of the tragedy: the victims. However, complaining if we cannot offer any solutions or suggestions is pointless, so here are some photos that would have been much better to use in order to shape a feature story around the survivors and first responders, not the alleged perpetrator.
You may remember a picture of a man in a hat pushing an injured man in a wheelchair, while simultaneously pinching the injured man’s severed artery. The pair made a second appearance together at a Red Sox game, where they both were honored and Bauman threw the first pitch of the game.
Pictured in the middle is Boston Marathon bombing survivor Heather Abbott, 38, who was among three of the survivors honored at the Challenged Athletes Foundation gala held in June. The other two survivors in attendance were Roseann Sdoia, 45, and Ryan McMahon, 33, and all have shown significant progress both emotionally and physically as they look foward to the rest of their lives.
"I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel," Abbott said. "My short-term goal is to walk without crutches."
A lot of blood and sweat went into keeping the situation under control, preventing further casualties and saving lives, and picking up the pieces after the worst of the tragedy had passed. It would be difficult and pretty much impossible to write an article mentioning every hero that put their heart into getting the victims and Boston as a whole back on its feet. However, a good way to start would be by writing a feature story about the law enforcement officials and first responders in general who worked tirelessly to save lives and keep Boston strong.
Here is a picture of just a few of the police officers, members of the fire department, and EMS personnel that were on site when the bombings occured shown meeting with the Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino.
If Rolling Stone really wanted to take a more pop-culture angle to this story, they could have made the Boston Strong concert held in May their focus story for the June issue while including a tribute to those who were affected by the bombings. The magazine did write about the concert, but the article discussed only details of the atmosphere and the music.
This is a gem I came across while browsing through the internet for pictures of the fallen victims and those who survived. In response to Rolling Stone's distasteful article, a Massachusetts native by the name of Jason Fragoso created and posted what he thought would have been a more suitable cover page for the August issue.
Given all the backlash that has resulted from Rolling Stone's excruciating insensitivity, it would be excellent if its editors listened to the criticism and released an issue that looked something like Fragoso's for the September issue. The magazine's decision to feature Dzhokhar was a cheap shot at bringing in more revenue. In reality, if it decided at this point to release an issue honoring the victims, it would probably get a very favorable response, perhaps even more so than it would have if it had initially released it and avoided putting the spotlight on the alleged bomber.
Rolling Stone made an editorial decision that was disappointingly tactless and although it cannot reverse the damage it has done, it still has the opportunity to make amends by publishing a more appropriate issue next month.