With UVA rape story retraction, Rolling Stone promises to do better

In an introduction to a lengthy investigative report from the dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, Managing Editor Will Dana calls it ‘painful reading.’ (Update)

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More than four months after it was published, Rolling Stone has officially retracted its controversial story about an alleged gang rape on the campus of the University of Virginia.

Links to the original story redirect online readers to a report by Columbia University School of Journalism Dean Steve Coll, which calls the story a “journalistic failure.” Specifically, the report goes into great detail to describe the magazine’s shortcomings in “reporting, editing, editorial supervision and fact-checking.”

The report states: “The editors made judgments about attribution, fact-checking and verification that greatly increased their risks of error but had little or nothing to do with protecting [source] Jackie’s position.”

Most damning is the finding that contributing editor Sabrina Rubin Erdely did not contact three friends that the source, called “Jackie” in the story, said she talked to the night of the alleged rape.

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