Rolling Stone Retracts Virginia Campus Rape Article

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Rolling Stone Retracts Virginia Campus Rape Article

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[Rolling Stone Retracts Virginia Campus Rape Article]

Rolling Stone has apologized and officially retracted an article about rape on the campus of a US university following an independent review.
Managing Editor Will Dana apologized to readers and “all of those who were damaged by our story and the ensuing fallout”.

The November 2014 article described a gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house in 2012.

A four-month police investigation found no evidence that the incident occurred.

However, police chief Timothy Longo said that did not mean “something terrible didn’t happen” to the student known as Jackie.

‘Journalistic failure’

The Columbia School of Journalism report, commissioned by Rolling Stone, described the article as “a story of journalistic failure”.

Written by journalist Sabrina Erdely, the 9,000-word article A Rape on Campus relied on Jackie as the sole source to tell the story of an alleged rape at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house.

Subsequent investigations by other reporters and Ms Erdely herself identified errors in the reporting of the piece.

The Columbia School of Journalism report said the magazine failed to use “basic, even routine journalistic practice” to verify the details after Ms Erdely failed to contact the alleged attackers.

“The failure encompassed reporting, editing, editorial supervision and fact-checking”, and there were “systematic failures” at the magazine, the report said.

The report went on to suggest that the article had undermined work to stop sexual violence as it “spread the idea that many women invent rape allegations”.

‘Painful reading’

Mr Dana described the report as “painful reading”, and said the magazine was committing itself to a series of recommendations in the report.
He apologized to all those affected by the story, “including members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and UVA administrators and students”.

“Sexual assault is a serious problem on college campuses, and it is important that rape victims feel comfortable stepping forward,” he added.
“It saddens us to think that their willingness to do so might be diminished by our failings.”

Ms Erdely also apologized in a statement released alongside the report.

“I hope that my mistakes in reporting this story do not silence the voices of victims that need to be heard.”

Columbia said that Jackie had declined to answer questions for the report and that her lawyer said it “is in her best interest to remain silent at this time.”

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