The Columbia Journalism School held a press conference at noon to discuss the findings of its investigation into Rolling Stone’s newly retracted article, “A Rape on Campus.” The institution’s devastating report on the piece, released Sunday, found the magazine failed to pursue leads that would have exposed a student’s story of a gang rape at the University of Virginia as false. Speaking after a three-and-a-half-month investigation, Columbia Journalism Dean Steve Coll asked people to remember that “this [investigative] report was Rolling Stone’s idea,” and that the magazine participated voluntarily. The objective of the report, Coll said, was to lay out what happened at the magazine. “It was the collective fault of the reporter, the editor, the editor’s supervisor, and the fact-checking department,” Coll said.
“We don’t believe that ‘Jackie’ was to blame,” Columbia academic affairs dean Sheila Coronel said.
“Rolling Stone had an improper understanding of what was actually reported” to the university about the alleged assault of the unnamed victim, known as Jackie, Coronel said, and added that reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely “felt that something had to be done” for victims of sexual assault.
Coll said the investigation was “unable to go beyond what where the police ended up” in finding out what really happened with Jackie. “What happened to Jackie that night is a mystery,” Coronel confirmed.