Rolling Stone’s November “A Rape on Campus” story centered on a brutal gang rape of a student as it set out to expose institutional failures at the University of Virginia in dealing with rape allegations. The story, however, self-destructed amidst accusations of faulty reporting by its author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, forcing the magazine to admit it committed a series of grave errors in the editorial process.
The magazine has taken a lot of heat for its publication of such a provocative, sensitive piece without making sure its facts were straight. Rolling Stone has pledged to do more reporting to get to the bottom of the story—they’ve already printed—the second time around. This time, the magazine won’t be alone, as other publications are also in hot pursuit.
Rolling Stone has already spent weeks trying to figure out where exactly it went wrong, and on Monday the magazine’s publisher announced it was seeking help. “We have asked the Columbia Journalism School to conduct an independent review – headed by Dean Steve Coll and Dean of Academic Affairs Sheila Coronel – of the editorial process that led to the publication of this story,” Rolling Stone editor and publisher Jann Wenner said in a statement on Monday. “As soon as they are finished, we will publish their report.”