Although this Rolling Stone story was extremely long, I read it in one sitting. Do you want to know why? Because it was interesting, controversial, and it showed me that ethical guidelines in journalism are not always followed.
I want to brag about technology and then tell you why I have a problem with the Erdely the journalist who wrote the story. We have technology that can do a million different things for the people that use it. Almost everyone has a facebook, twitter, or some kind of social media site that puts at least some of their life out there for people to see or read. If a person’s location is on during their tweets, you could literally stalk them and that is scary, and in this case, the reason why I think the author did not to do enough to find out the truth about the story or people in the story.
The biggest mistake I think Erdely made was trusting Jackie. I feel that if you are a journalist who breaks large stories like this one, you should assume that your source is lying. When yu assume that your source is lying, you are forced to do all the investigative work to prove that they are. If you indeed cannot prove they are lying, then you have done everything you can to investigate and report the story.
Of course, I am going all libel crazy on you because I just wrote an entire paper for media law about the libelous material that Erdely wrote, but that isn’t what I want to talk about.
I am concerned with this story because of the negative affect it will have on convicting people of rape. It is one of the most disgusting crimes a person can commit and it seems that we are seeing it more and more everyday. That is why this article and libel case concern me. We can’t have setbacks like that. I don’t know what it is going to have to happen to delete that culture that exists in our country, but stories like that are definitely not helping.
This is one thing to think about if you are a journalist. What kind of affect can big name stories have on our a society as a whole and what are some ways we can avoid these setbacks? We often talk about the way journalism has affected our society and I am not sure there is a better example of a negative affect than this one. I hope this teaches other journalists to be more careful when investigating and reporting, especially about this subject.