Rolling Stone Orders Audit of UVa Rape Story

Jann Wenner has asked Columbia Journalism School to examine what went wrong
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2014 11:34 AM CST
Rolling Stone Orders Audit of UVa Rape Story
"Rolling Stone" publisher Jann Wenner speaks at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, March 14, 2011, in New York.   (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner is ordering an independent audit to get to the bottom of what went wrong with Sabrina Rubin Erdely's University of Virginia rape story, and the Columbia Journalism School will do the honors, the Washington Post reports. The investigative team, headed by deans Steve Coll and Sheila Coronel, will examine "the editorial process that led to the publication of this story," which has been accused of featuring shoddy interviewing and reporting and a possibly misleading first-person account by "Jackie," the story's victim. Wenner says once the school has completed its audit, he'll publish the resulting report in its entirety on the magazine's website, with a condensed version in print.

This third-party audit is in addition to the magazine's own detective work, which a Rolling Stone spokeswoman told the Post last week would include "a thorough internal review of the reporting, editing, and fact-checking" involved. Coronel says Wenner was the one who approached them and that they're not being paid: "We're doing it on our own time," Coronel tells the Post. She also notes that they don't have a completion deadline and have already received a ton of files from the magazine, saying, "They've given us the interviews, the email, a lot of other things—we have a lot." As the Huffington Post notes, it's not typical for news organizations to happily hand over materials for independent review when a story is under fire, though CBS News did so in 2004 to flesh out how the network allowed a Dan Rather report on George W. Bush's Air National Guard Service using unauthenticated info. (More Rolling Stone stories.)

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