Rolling Stone retracted its botched story about a campus rape, following the Sunday release of a scathing report outlining the missteps in the magazine’s editorial process that led to the publishing of the erroneous article. The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism’s 13,000-word report concluded the magazine failed in “basic, even routine journalistic practice” to fact-check the account of the article’s source, known as Jackie. The story’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, broke her silence on the ordeal, apologizing to readers, colleagues, and “any victims of sexual assault who may feel fearful as a result of my article.” The report found several missteps, including failing to identify Jackie’s alleged attacker, not independently contacting three of Jackie’s friends quoted in the story, as well as a problem with confirmation bias, or the tendency to select facts to support pre-existing assumptions. The story also lacked enough editorial scrutiny over the account, the report found. Publisher Jann Wenner said the story was not representative of practices at Rolling Stone and pointed to the magazine’s source as the central problem, calling her a “really expert fabulist storyteller,” The New York Times reports. Wenner also said Erderly would continue to write for the magazine and no staffers involved in the story would be fired.
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