This evening myself and some classmates presented on some recent news stories that were poorly reported. We classified these stories as “poorly reported” because the editors or reporters used poor ethical judgment and standards. My portion focused on the Rolling Stone Magazine’s report of a rape on the campus of UVA. This story rocked the nation. The campus was equally shaken if not more. The alleged rape happened at a fraternity house. In turn, UVA suspended all Greek life organizations.
After some fact-checking and investigation, The Washington Post found many discrepancies and incorrect information in the Rolling Stone article. The Washington Post published their findings causing Rolling Stone to do the same. Investigators discovered much of the information to be wrong. While the victim may still have be sexually assaulted, this is not what I am here to debate. I am here to discuss the ethical responsibility of journalists to make sure the information they publish is 100% correct and accurate before the story is published. Many more students and organizations became victims in this case thanks to poor journalism. All Greek Life at UVA was suspended. Dozens of organizations and thousands of students were dragged into this terrible situation.
The men accused have had their names and reputations tarnished. The fellow members of their fraternities suffered. All organizations had their reputations tarnished because of the irresponsibility of a few people. While my fraternity was not the one specifically named, we have a chapter at UVA. I received emails about the situation and how our organization has a national body was dealing with it.
The articles written by The Post and Rolling Stone reached millions of people. Post has a little over four million followers on Twitter. Rolling Stone has a little more than four and a quarter million Twitter followers. Each time one of these organizations posted information about this case, over four million people were alerted and had access to the same information these organizations did. Millions of people watched and read as thousands of students were wrongly accused and associated with the wrongful act of a handful of people.
We must remember the immediate victims of any case. We must also keep in mind the victims that suffer from the aftershock of such events. Fraternity and Sororities could have lost their housing and charters. Best friends and memories would have destroyed due to a simple irresponsible error. Ethics: Learn them, follow them, live them