Rolling Stone magazine has got into hot water, as being widely reported today, over bad, poorly researched reporting of a supposed gang rape at a college fraternity. I personally experienced such a case of Rolling Stone sloppy reporting some years back, when the magazine attacked the journalism school of one of the nation’s top colleges. They took quotes from the informal Q&A session following a guest lecture I gave on campus totally out of context to support the false premise of their reporter, who had it out for the college. Their story was widely picked up by other major national media, such as was the recent rape story they broke, and that Rolling Stone story could have had major reputational consequences for my organization, as the recent story did for college fraternities. The Rolling Stone’s bad reporting nearly cost my job, and only the intercession of the chairman of my board, who was a frequent skeptic of news stories, saved my position. Yet that badly reported Rolling Stone story has followed me for many years.
Rolling Stone has done some break-through reporting over the years, but their standards of cross-checking and journalistic integrity have often gone wanting, and other more diligent news media and magazine readership are wise to look more deeply into accusations made by Rolling Stone before taking their stories to the bank. .