WIUM Tristates Public Radio

An Error-Ridden Piece of "Journalism"

Apr 14, 2015

Rolling Stone magazine last week retracted the story it ran last fall about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia.  The retraction was issued after the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism looked into the story (at the magazine’s request) and found numerous flaws.

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton said those flaws included reporting errors and fact-checking errors.  In addition, the story did not provide attribution for some of its details.

Crighton said the magazine did not even try to find others who could validate the information provided by the woman at the center of the story.  Crighton called that “a big problem.”

Panelist Rich Moreno said the story hurts those who are actually victims of serious crimes because it makes it more difficult for them to come forward and think anyone will believe them.

Like Crighton, Moreno criticized the magazine for basing the story on a single source instead of finding others who might have knowledge of what happened and asking questions of them.

Panelist Rich Egger said many news outlets rely on single sources for of day-to-day stories. But he said a major investigative piece merits more digging and the use of multiple sources.