BOSTON (CBS) – Rolling Stone magazine defended its decision Wednesday to feature accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of its next issue.

The cover photo infuriated victims, their families, and many others, sparking an outpouring of protest across social media.

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Some stores said they will not sell the issue.

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Rolling Stone’s editors released their first response to the furor Wednesday afternoon:

Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families. The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day. The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens. –THE EDITORS

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The entire article can be read here.

Bill Shields