Sunday, April 5, 2015

Report says Rolling Stone Article on Rape Failed to Follow Basic Journalistic Practices

The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism published a report  which asserts that the Rolling Stone failed to follow "basic, even routine" journalistic practices in its story about an alleged rape at the University of Virginia. Here are some of the missteps:

1. The authors failed to contact the friends of their source who were quoted several times in the story using pseudonyms. These friends denied the quotes attributed to them in interviews with The Washington Post, and said that they would have made these same denials if the Rolling Stone were to have contacted them.

2. The authors did not provide the fraternity with enough information to adequately respond to the questions that the authors posed to it. After the article was published, the fraternity claimed that it had not hosted an event the night that the source had specified.

3. The authors failed to identify their source's attacker. The fraternity, the police and The Post have been unable to match the description of the attacker to anyone.

4. The fact-checking process relied too heavily on one source.

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