A Rape on Campus
""A Rape on Campus"" is an article by Sabrina Erdely published in the November 19, 2014 issue of Rolling Stone, which has since been debunked and retracted by the publisher. The article claimed that several members of a fraternity at the University of Virginia viciously raped a woman, identified only as Jackie, as part of an initiation rite during a chapter house party. After other journalists investigated the article's claims and found significant discrepancies, Rolling Stone issued multiple apologies for the story. The story was included in a Columbia Journalism Review feature, ""The Worst Journalism of 2014"", where it was described as winning ""this year's media-fail sweepstakes"". The Poynter Institute named it as the ""Error of the Year"" in journalism.Rolling Stone publisher Jann S. Wenner asked the dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism to audit the editorial processes leading up to the publication of the story. Dean Steve Coll agreed to review the processes with Sheila Coronel, dean of academic affairs. Reporters from Rolling Stone also contacted sources from the initial story as part of an attempt to piece together what went wrong.On January 12, 2015, Charlottesville Police Department officials told the University that ""their investigation has not revealed any substantive basis to confirm that the allegations raised in the Rolling Stone article occurred at Phi Kappa Psi...so there's no reason to keep them suspended"". On January 30, 2015, UVA President Teresa Sullivan acknowledged that the Rolling Stone story was discredited. Charlottesville Police officially suspended their four-month investigation on March 23, 2015, stating that they had no evidence of a gang rape taking place, and that ""there is no substantive basis to support the account alleged in the Rolling Stone article."" In light of the findings, Erik Wemple of The Washington Post pronounced the story ""a complete crock"". In the Columbia Journalism Review, Bill Grueskin called the story ""a mess — thinly sourced, full of erroneous assumptions, and plagued by gaping holes in the reporting"".On April 5, 2015, Rolling Stone retracted the article and published an independent report on the incident by the Columbia University School of Journalism. The report determined that the magazine failed basic fact checking by relying excessively on the accuser's account, did not verify it through other means, and exhibited confirmation bias. It also found a failure in journalistic standards by not reaching out to the people on whom derogatory information was to be published, or when it did so, by not providing enough context for them to offer a meaningful response. The report also states that the article misled readers with quotes where attribution was unclear, and used pseudonyms inappropriately as a way to address these shortcomings, but that no fabrication on the part of the journalists had occurred. The report also points out that after the publication, the staff had initially been unwilling to recognize these deficiencies and had denied that there was a need for policy changes. The Associated Press reported the same day that Rolling Stone publisher Jann S. Wenner stated that Jackie was ""a really expert fabulist storyteller"".