After Lengthy Third-Party Investigation, Rolling Stone Officially Retracts UVA Rape Story

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It’s been five months since Rolling Stone published the now infamous ‘UVA Rape Story’ — a detailed account of a horrific gang rape that allegedly occurred inside the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house. Since its publication in November, the subsequent fallout has been nothing short of disastrous for the accused fraternity, the University of Virginia, and for the reputation of Rolling Stone. The only deserving party to bear the brunt of this journalistic debacle, as it turns out, is Rolling Stone, so now the university and the fraternity are left to piece back together what’s left of their public perception.

Rolling Stone enlisted the help of Steve Coll, the dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, to conduct the investigation. In an article published on Sunday by the now soiled publication, the findings of Coll’s lengthy investigation were revealed. The entire article is very informative and very long (and I encourage you to read it), and what it basically says is this: Rolling Stone royally fucked up; there is no evidence to support Jackie’s claim against the members of Phi Psi.

Preceding the report was a note by Will Dana, Managing Editor of Rolling Stone. In his attempt to soften the blow of the findings, and to officially retract the initial story, he had this to say:

This report was painful reading, to me personally and to all of us at Rolling Stone. It is also, in its own way, a fascinating document ­— a piece of journalism, as Coll describes it, about a failure of journalism. With its publication, we are officially retracting ‘A Rape on Campus.’ We are also committing ourselves to a series of recommendations about journalistic practices that are spelled out in the report. We would like to apologize to our readers and to all of those who were damaged by our story and the ensuing fallout, including members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and UVA administrators and students. Sexual assault is a serious problem on college campuses, and it is important that rape victims feel comfortable stepping forward. It saddens us to think that their willingness to do so might be diminished by our failings.

The retraction is official, the apology is on paper, and now wallets are about to be opened.

What amount of money is proper retribution for the damage caused to this fraternity? I couldn’t even ballpark it.

[via Rolling Stone]

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