Kent State and Rock Hall Team up to Create a New Class Celebrating Rolling Stone Magazine’s 50th Anniversary

As Rolling Stone magazine nears its momentous 50-year anniversary this fall, Kent State students will be studying the history of the magazine, its impact on American culture and how it continues to innovate, in a new course “Music, Movements and Media: Rolling Stone @ 50.”

The course will be offered through the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) and includes a partnership with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced last week its newest exhibit, “Rolling Stone / 50 Years,” opening May 5, 2017 and running through late November.

Assistant Professor Stephanie Danes Smith will teach the one-credit-hour, five-week course offered during the first part of the Fall 2017 semester. Smith spent 27 years working for the United States Federal Government, and her specialties include organizational public relations, global communication, crisis management and trend forecasting. Her love for rock and roll led her to first subscribe to Rolling Stone 40 years agoand she has not looked back.

“My love affair began with a passion for rock journalism and quickly evolved into a curiosity and passion for Rolling Stone’s unique take on the social and political issues that have shaped my life,” she said. “I hope the class will shed light on the fact that it’s not just about music – it’s about the vital connections between music, movements and media. There is much students can learn from studying the dichotomies of Rolling Stone’s reporting style, which is serious and irreverent, crusading and controversial, remarkable and – at times – flawed.  We will examine how this magazine has remained an influential force in music, film, social movements and politics.”

The course will cover Rolling Stone’s origins and the birth of rock journalism; the connections between music, movements and media; and how the magazine has created and sustained passionate audience engagement and social influence for five decades. Students will study the artists made and unmade by Rolling Stone, the way many of its iconic images have defined American life and the way the magazine has consistently provided an unfiltered lens on the chaos, the euphoria and the controversies of the counter-culture.

Students will also examine the rewards, risks and implications of the magazine’s cutting-edge investigative reporting through case studies of three stories and editorial decisions that shook America:

  • The “glam” cover featuring Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted of planting bombs at the Boston Marathon
  • The 2010 story that led to Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s resignation
  • The now-retracted “A Rape on Campus” investigation from 2014

The class will be open to 45 students. First preference will be given to JMC majors and minors with junior and senior standing. One course session will be held on-site at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, with a tour of the Rolling Stone exhibit and a guest lecture by Jason Hanley, Ph.D., vice president of education and visitor engagement at the Rock Hall.

Kent State students can register for Fall 2017 classes beginning April 3. The course registration number is JMC ST 40095 / 60195.

Interested in learning more?

Fill out the form below if you are a non-Kent State student interested in learning more about course content or a potential community event (in October 2017) related to "Music, Movements and Media" and Rolling Stone's 50th anniversary.

About the School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Now in its 79th year, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University offers majors that prepare students for careers in the rapidly changing media and communication industries. The School emphasizes relevant training at both the undergraduate and graduate levels that balances both conceptual and practical courses, professional opportunities and multiple internships.

Kent State’s core curriculum gives students a strong background in the liberal arts to complement the School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s professional training. 

About the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Rock Connects Us. Our mission is clear: To engage, teach and inspire through the power of rock and roll. We share stories of the people, events and songs that shape our world through exhibits, innovative programs and concerts. Join the millions who love it as much as you do. Experience us live or online – Visit or Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@rockhall). Long Live Rock!

Media Contacts:
Christina Russ ,, 330-672-2571  
Kristin Anderson,, 330-672-7907
Shauna Wilson,, 216-515-1215

POSTED: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 10:47 AM
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2022 09:19 PM
Christina Russ