Highlights of Columbia report, Rolling Stone response

AP News
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Posted: Apr 06, 2015 12:39 PM

Highlights of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism's analysis of what went wrong with Rolling Stone's discredited article about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, and the magazine's response:

THE REPORT

— Editorial failures encompassed reporting, editing, editorial supervision and fact-checking.

— There was no evidence, however, that the writer, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, invented facts.

— The magazine failed to investigate reporting leads even when the woman who claimed to have been raped, identified in the story as only as "Jackie," had not specifically asked them not to.

— The editors made judgments about attribution, fact-checking and verification that greatly increased their risks of error.

— While Rolling Stone's editorial staff has shrunk by 25 percent since 2008, the problem was not a lack of resources, but a methodology that failed to find and debate problems with reporting or listen to questions from fact-checkers.

— The magazine needs better policies about reporting practices, use of pseudonyms and attribution.

— The fact checkers should have been more assertive about questioning editorial decisions.

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ROLLING STONE'S RESPONSE

— The magazine retracted the story and apologized.

— Will Dana, the managing editor, said the story's breakdown reflected both an "individual failure" and "procedural failure, an institutional failure."

— Dana said the magazine had committed itself to a number of changes in its journalistic practices that were spelled out in the report.

— Erdely apologized in a statement.