2 years ago
nicolejb
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Rolling Stone’s Retracted Rape Story & a Case for Journalistic Integrity
Rolling Stone magazine isn’t doing so hot right now. After the release of the "'A Rape on Campus,” article their future has been pretty grim. It centered around a University of Virginia student's account of her alleged gang rape at a fraternity house. The claims were found to be false, and an investigation was made.

The article came at a time when “rape on college campuses” was a very important and very talked about issue...so this story was HUGE. And the investigation was HUGE.

Dean of the University at the time sued Rolling Stone and won the case for $8 million.

Now, months after that case three students of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity are stepping forward with another lawsuit. $75,000 for the emotional distress that the article caused them stating that "the article led other students to believe that they were involved in the alleged rape."

A lot of the news has been surrounding the woman that made false statements.


Let’s all keep in mind the following-- that we aren’t sure how many rape cases are false claims (Some have argued 2 to 8 percent, some stats say more). So even though the media is focusing not this; I don’t want to. Because as you know with the Bill Cosby allegations, victims have an extremely hard time coming forward and disclosing that information. So focusing the discussion on the woman that came forward and made a false claim can be very harmful to those that have not come forward about their true claims. Everyone lies, let’s not make it harder for people to tell the truth.

Ok, glad that I got that off my chest.

Let’s focus on the real issue here: Journalistic integrity.

After it was discovered that the claims were false, they issued an investigation and the full report was posted online.

But I think the problem was too late. News and media love to focus on what’s hot in the news a the time. During that time, it was rape on campus. They came forward with the story hot off the press when it was relevant an interesting, but they didn’t take the time to check the facts...and the news ended up being very damaging. I think the magazine was extremely lazy for publishing without having accurate information.

Hot topics in the news are important to cover, yes, but more importantly is integrity. To make sure we are fact-checking our information.

Did Rolling Stone lose their credit as an important and relevant cultural news source? With the resignation of their managing editor, Rolling Stone is going to have to do some intense mending.
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Totally agree @LizArnone! I never want others to point at a case like this to a victim and be like, “you are lying because look this person in Rolling Stone did too.” that is NEVER ok. Just like in the Bill Cosby case...we see it’s really hard for victims to reach out already. sometimes it takes years! We should strive to make it easy for them to come forward. Thank you so much for your affirming comment.
I think it all comes down to fact checking, trusting your source and not jumping the gun before having all of the information. At RS' level, it's a complete editorial snaffoo. I feel awful for the victims and everyone involved because as media personnel you have a responsibility to the readers, the subjects and the issues at hand. Just all around unfortunate. It just shows that RS isn't what it used to be, like in the hayday of Jann Wenner and Thompson, doing hardcore political reporting with fearless headlines and polarizing opinions. It's a shame.
Totally @TessStevens! And now that the managing editor is stepping down, I’m interested to see who will take over...and if they can turn it around
@nicolejb that's a good point! I had no idea that was happening. I think there's potential there, although overall the way the media works in this country needs to change. It feels like there's a culture of exploitative journalism, and that needs to stop in order to prevent things like this from happening (imo).
Agreed, @shannonl5. It should be a whole media culture change, not just one person coming in and helping a magazine.