Rolling Stone has initiated an external review of its embattled piece about sexual assault on the campus of the University of Virginia, the most significant step taken since questions about the story emerged.
Jann Wenner, editor and publisher of Rolling Stone, acknowledged the review in an internal memo released on Monday.
"We have asked the Columbia Journalism School to conduct an independent review — headed by Dean Steve Coll and Dean of Academic Affairs Sheila Coronel — of the editorial process that led to the publication of this story. As soon as they are finished, we will publish their report," Wenner wrote.
The magazine has come under intense scrutiny since early December when it began to walk back part of a widely-circulated story about a brutal gang rape on the campus of the University of Virginia as well as the lack of response from the school's administrators. In response to the story, the university suspended all fraternities on its campus.
An independent investigation from one of the most respected journalism institutions in the U.S. will be closely watched, as blame for the errors in the piece have fallen on the article's author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, as well as the magazine's editors. Since the piece was published, a variety of inconsistencies about those involved have emerged, including the victim's friends coming out publicly to disagree with how they are characterized in the article.
The decision to involve the Columbia's journalism school is somewhat surprising. Steve Coll, the dean who will help lead the investigation, told CNN he is not sure that the journalism school has ever done an investigation like this.
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