After a three-month investigation, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism has released a report fully discrediting a story by Rolling Stone magazine.Man-with-headache

Rolling Stone ran a story in November 2014 titled “A Rape on Campus” that detailed a woman’s account of being gang raped at the University of Virginia. However, it was soon revealed that many of the allegations in the story were false and had not been appropriately checked by the writer.

Columbia’s report concludes that the author and editors of the story failed to properly report, edit, and fact-check the story before it was published. The article has since been retracted, and Rolling Stone says it will implement Columbia’s recommendations about journalistic practices listed in the report.

Although those involved in the publishing of the story cooperated with Columbia’s investigation and have apologized for their actions, there is sure to be a long recovery process ahead for the magazine. This type of incident leads to a considerable loss of reputation, and Rolling Stone will have to work hard to regain the trust of its readers.

If your company were to face a similar situation, do you know how you would respond to the media in order to repair a loss of reputation? First, remember that all media inquiries should be referred to your company’s official spokesperson. Then, follow these suggestions during a press conference or interview:

  • Be honest and accurate. Recognize uncertainty, but focus on actions being taken.
  • State your conclusions first and then provide supporting data.
  • Offer to get information you don’t have.
  • Stress the facts.

You can find the complete “Communicating with Media Following a Crisis” checklist in your portal. For additional information on how you can avoid a loss of reputation at your company, contact your Client Services representative.  

2015 Content Intern