Rolling Stone comes to SA

2011-10-11 14:27

Rolling Stone magazine will launch in South Africa in

November. The legendary magazine brand made its presence known at the Rocking

the Daisies festival this past weekend, with little clues scattered around the


The US version of the magazine, founded in 1967 by still-editor and

publisher Jann Wenner and Ralph J Gleason, is considered an icon of pop culture

reportage. The South African edition plans to continue in that tradition,

according to local editor-in-chief Miles Keylock.

“Why should we always be forced to see foreigners on the front of

our magazines?” he told Channel24.

“We’ve got enough talent here that deserves respect and airtime.

From a content point of view it’s time to start respecting and celebrating our


“Where can people talk meaningfully about music and current

affairs? On Twitter, on blogs sure, but what kind of meaningful conversation can

you actually be having there? For us it’s about finding the right platform to

kickstart these kinds of conversations. Rolling Stone is about in-depth,

long-form journalism, which the publishing industry in SA seems to have had a

love-hate relationship with in recent years.”

Local vs International

On the question of what content balance will be struck between

international and local content, the plan seems to be quite clear.

“We’re starting off with at least half the magazine given to local

content,” says Keylock. “We want to kickstart a culture of home-grown journalism

– we don’t want our writers to waste their time regurgitating stories that may

or may not have any resonance in South Africa.”

The local element will go alongside handpicked international

content, according to creative director Georgia Gardner. “But it will all be

seamless – the same level of production values. And the South African artists

would also get the same treatment visually.”

“There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with bringing Rolling

Stone to South Africa. The downside is that there were some people who were

expecting a watered-down version, who I think will be very pleasantly



“On the upside,” says Gardner, “there are people literally jumping

up and down with glee at the prospect of being able to give South African music

and culture the type of engaging treatment they’d get from a US Rolling


Keylock is unapologetically optimistic about Rolling Stone’s effect

on the local scene.

“Our local content is completely marginalised, and Rolling Stone

has an opportunity to make a difference. Our mantra has been ‘let’s not get

bogged down in not making it happen. Let’s make it happen and do what’s

necessary to make it happen.’”

Rolling Stone is currently published in 15 territories across the

globe. A local teaser website is currently live.


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