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Rolling Stone’s “A Rape Case on Campus”


The truth in the case

From a close evaluation of the story, one is in a position to tell that the Rolling Stone’s version of the story, “A Rape Case on Campus”, is a story of journalistic failure that could be avoided. The narrative’s failure involved poor reporting, editorial mistakes, and carelessness in evidence checking. The magazine overlooked various essential practices of reporting that if accounted for, would have influenced the magazine’s editors to rethink publishing the story.

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The retraction of the story following the lack of evidence reflected individual, procedural, and institutional failure of which so many people involved in editing had the chance to close the gap and avoid reporting without sufficient facts. Erdely, the journalist following Jackie’s story, failed to consider important information that could have raised questions about the validity of the story. Jackie, who was the alleged victim, exaggerated the attack and further investigation identified that she gave false report since there was no evidence.

In March, Charlottesville reported that they lacked substantial details to conclude that the incident had occurred. The Rolling Stone’s managing editor, Will Dana, apologized to all those affected by the story. In addition, Sabrina Erdely, the author of the article, also apologized by taking responsibility for failing to get the story right.

A plaintiff refers to the party that moves to court and launches a formal legal case against another party. For this case, the University of Virginia Associate Dean of Students, Nicole Eramo, was the plaintiff accusing the magazine of portraying her as an apologist aiding in suppressing sexual-assault allegations in the campus. On the other hand, a defendant is the party sued before a court of law. The defendant is the accused party. In this case, the defendant is the Rolling Stone whom Ms. Eramo believes violated journalistic standards intentionally by reporting the story without collecting substantial evidence in the entire institution. The second defendant is Sabrina Erdely, the story’s author, for failing to take corrective measures while conducting these investigations.


Defamation is the act of destroying the reputation of someone, institution, or a company. The Rolling Stone magazine provided unproven statements that harmed the reputation of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and in particular various individuals such as Ms. Eramo since she is charged with the University’s handling of sexual assault claims. In a bid to win the case, Ms. Eramo proved damages on her reputation since the article had been viewed 2.7 million times online and she had received emails accusing her of trying to cover the rape case intentionally. She also proved negligence of the editor for reporting without enough facts. This negligence was enough to warrant the plaintiff remedy for the damages caused.

Other parties that could sue Rolling Stone

The alleged attackers are also legible to initiate a lawsuit against the Rolling Stone for damaging their reputation. They should sue the magazine because defamation is a serious issue in this era where irresponsible reporting has become common with the proliferation of digital media in journalism. The Bible is against slander and Erdely was essentially involved in this kind of sin. Mathew 12:36 warns against the careless use of words because people will be held accountable for what they say. Therefore, by following this scripture, the alleged attackers should hold Erdely accountable for her words by suing her.

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