Tags: Rolling Stone | Columbia | journalism | rape

Columbia Journalism School to Review Rolling Stone Rape Story

By    |   Monday, 22 Dec 2014 06:09 PM

The Columbia Journalism School will review Rolling Stone's reporting, editing, and decision-making practices as they relate to a recent story about a gang rape at the University of Virginia — a story whose details and sourcing have come into question.

The magazine published the story, which focused on a female student who said she had been gang-raped by seven men, last month. The piece quickly came under fire for a lack of sourcing, however, leading to the magazine's issuing an apology for the controversy it caused.

Now, Columbia will take a closer look at the story and figure out what went wrong, according to a statement from publisher Jann S. Wenner. Several media outlets cited the statement, including the Washington Post.

"In RS 1223, Sabrina Rubin Erdely wrote about a brutal gang rape of a young woman named Jackie at a party in a University of Virginia frat house ["A Rape on Campus"]," Wenner wrote, according to the Post.

"Upon its publication, the article generated worldwide attention and praise for shining a light on the way the University of Virginia and many other colleges and universities across the nation have tried to sweep the issue of sexual assault on campus under the rug.

"Then, two weeks later," he wrote, "The Washington Post and other news outlets began to question Jackie's account of the evening and the accuracy of Erdely's reporting.

Immediately, we posted a note on our website, disclosing the concerns. We have asked the Columbia Journalism School to conduct an independent review — headed by Dean Steve Coll and Dean of Academic Affairs Sheila Coronel — of the editorial process that led to the publication of this story. As soon as they are finished, we will publish their report."

Columbia confirmed the news in a separate statement posted on it website.

"Rolling Stone has asked us to conduct an independent review of the reporting and editorial decision-making that led to the publication of its recent story on sexual violence at the University of Virginia," Coll and Coronel wrote.

"Rolling Stone has agreed to publish our report in its entirety, without editing, on its website, as well as substantial excerpts in the magazine. We don't want to comment further about our work until it is completed. We made no firm commitments about the timeline for our report, but we hope to complete it as soon as possible."

At the request of the accuser, known only as "Jackie," Erdely and Rolling Stone agreed not to interview the alleged rapists or anyone else tied to the alleged incident.

Rolling Stone posted a statement at the top of the story after the controversy started and initially seemed to place the blame on "Jackie," but then backed off and said the agreement it made with her not to speak with anyone else tied to the alleged incident was the problem.

The Poynter Institute, a nonprofit journalism school, recently gave the story its "Error of the Year" award.

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The Columbia Journalism School will review Rolling Stone's reporting, editing, and decision-making practices as they relate to a recent story about a gang rape at the University of Virginia — a story whose details and sourcing have come into question.
Rolling Stone, Columbia, journalism, rape
492
2014-09-22
Monday, 22 Dec 2014 06:09 PM
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