Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the disgraced Rolling Stone journalist who in November published a 9,000-word story on a gang rape that never happened, has issued an apology after staying quiet for more than three months, Click2Houston reports.
Erdely’s name was brought back into the spotlight after the Columbia Journalism School issued a scathing and humiliating review of the work Erdely and her editors had done to bring “A Rape on Campus” to readers.
“Rolling Stone‘s repudiation of the main narrative in ‘A Rape on Campus’ is a story of journalistic failure that was avoidable,” the report states within its 24-page breakdown of just what those failures were.
Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner plans to stand by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, she said, indicating that the disgraced journalist will continue to write for the magazine.
In fact, Wenner did not plan to take any disciplinary action on her or the other editors involved in spite of what the Washington Post pointed out regarding the lives and reputations that were affected by the story.
Among those lives and reputations: a woman named “Jackie,” whom the story was about; the University of Virginia and its fraternity system; several administrators who were mentioned by name; three students who “come off as monsters” in spite of the fact that “Jackie’s” story did not check out and Erdely never contacted them to get their side of the story; and, as Erdely herself fears, legitimate victims of sexual assault who will think a little harder about coming forward as a result of the faulty reporting.
After going dark on Twitter shortly before the scandal broke, Erdely has now placed herself back in the spotlight.
“Reporting on rape has unique challenges, but the journalist still has the responsibility to get it right,” Erdely said in her statement. “I hope that my mistakes in reporting this story do not silence the voices of victims that need to be heard.”
She also called the review of her work “brutal and humbling” and said the last few months have been among the “most painful of my life.”
Erdely will continue with her career after this, and she isn’t the first journalist to make a major mistake with few ill effects to her career. Arkansas journalist Suzi Parker was removed from the Washington Post as a contributor after reporting that Sarah Palin would be working for Al Jazeera America. She got the story from a satire news website, and re-reported it as fact.
Her most recent story on the Arkansas religious freedom law was published by the Daily Beast.
Do you think journalists like Parker, who fail in the most basic tenets of their job and, in the case of Sabrina Rubin Erdely, affect so many lives in the process should be banned from working in the media? Sound off in the comments section.