No one was fired. The Rolling Stone story “A Rape on Campus” disappears from their site, replaced by the Columbia Journalism School’s report. But how will the magazine recover from this massive, public failure?
Even people who don’t regularly read Rolling Stone are aware that the magazine’s story about a 2012 gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity was false.
Rolling Stone Managing Editor Will Dana vowed to adopt the policy recommendations at the end of Columbia’s report. But Rolling Stone’s executives have rejected a major overhaul of the reporting, editing and fact-checking process, suggesting that this debacle was unique and not the result of a pattern.
That leaves the culture and news magazine with two pathways to redemption both slow and arduous.
First, in implementing the mild policy reforms, the magazine can do a close examination of the internal culture that created these two critical scenarios documented by the CJR report:
- The story editor, Sean Woods, inexplicably let go of his demands that Sabrina Rubin Erdely track down the three friends who advised Jackie the night of the alleged attack, or verify that the man Jackie claimed orchestrated the attack actually existed.