Posted by Jenny KraneEmbed from Getty Images
Yesterday, police investigating the alleged gang rape on University of Virginia’s campus suspended their investigation after finding no evidence to support the accuser’s claim. Jackie, the victim of the alleged rape, was aided in telling her story by an in-depth piece by Rolling Stone.
Two weeks after publishing the article about Jackie’s rape, Rolling Stone release a letter to readers claiming their trust in Jackie’s story was ‘misplaced.’ There were discrepancies in Jackie’s story, but Rolling Stone took full responsibility for publishing an incomplete and inaccurate article.
This investigation speaks to the fears of every journalist that has invested time and trust in an article. The original piece in Rolling Stone ran 9,000 words and was based on Jackie’s now discredited account of a gang rape. While the suspension of the investigation of Jackie’s rape does not render her story completely false, this question of accuracy has led some readers to question the integrity of Rolling Stone.
Editors and writers are faced with the challenge of whether to trust the credibility of a source in every article published. Unfortunately, Rolling Stone made the wrong call in trusting Jackie’s complete story without investigating the accusation. This one mistake on Rolling Stone’s part exhibits the dangers of neglecting to fact check all information published, personal or professional.