Post 3 (Week 13): Find an ethics controversy in media work and write an opinion piece about it.


In November 2014 Rolling Stone published a story of an alleged rape on the UVA campus. Many issues came forward by the way it was handled including; poor fact checked and reporting, general issues in the reporting of rape and sexual assault. Individuals accused were never interviewed. Friends of the victim Jackie where never interviewed. The fraternity accused denied hosting a party. E-mails have show the university challenged Rolling Stone‘s claims before publication.

In my opinion journalist need to identify sources whenever possible, the public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ to have some reliability. Always question sources motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Most of all reports should keep promises. As the associated press says,

“It means we always strive to identify all the sources of our information, shielding them with anonymity only when they insist upon it and when they provide vital information — not opinion or speculation; when there is no other way to that information; and when we know the source is knowledgeable and reliable.”

It is also important for reporters to understand the impact of their false writing at UVA for instance; when this article came out University suspended all Greek life on campus, Charlottesville Police Department begins to investigate fraternity members, and in July 29, 2015 former UVA fraternity members sued Rolling Stone.

It is also important to also keep in mind this quote about affirmation of bias as a reader,

“You should be critical, in the best sense of that word,” about stories that just confirm your own biases.” Said Richard Bradley (George magazine)

In my opinion, I would have followed the journalistic method in this situation and have done what the AP recommended. I would have interviews many more people and looked for facts, instead of using poor interviews to use as duct-tape to fix poor misleading quotes.

As a reporter, you can’t be a true advocate and support a story and listen to it and think everything is true and then report on it without trying to figure out if it’s true. I would have again made sure to take everything I learned and double-checked to the best of my ability, which was clearly over looked in this situation.


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