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Rolling Stone needs accountability, SU professors say


  Syracuse University professors are saying that Rolling Stone magazine needs to be held accountable for the inaccuracies in its recent campus rape story. 
After an assessment from the Columbia School of Journalism regarding Rolling Stone’s “A Rape on Campus” story, three journalism professors from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at SU gave their reactions to the backlash the magazine is now facing.

Professor David Rubin says the press often runs into issues whenever it tries to prove a pre-conceived notion.

“When the press goes into reporting stories thinking they already know the outcome and they’re simply looking for actors in a play, you run into trouble”

Rubin also says the issue with the story is that Rolling Stone went into the piece with two master narratives. The first is that universities don’t handle sexual assault allegations well and that victims are treated poorly. The second assumption was that sexual assault is consistently present at fraternities, and that gang rape is common.

Another professor at the Newhouse School Roy Gutterman says a second issue at Rolling Stone is that nobody was held accountable for their actions.

“The concern is that one of the pre-eminent magazines in the country didn’t do thorough editing or thorough reporting”

Gutterman says that rape is a sensitive topic, and this worsens Rolling Stone's error. Gutterman adds that if details of the story are wrong, then questions about every facet of the story are raised. 

“With big stories like this with really sensitive information, you have to get it right”

Professor Seth Gitner is an adviser at the SU chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, the same fraternity  whose members at the University of Virginia chapter were falsely accused of having gang-raped a student. 

Gitner says he wants all of the facts from the Rolling Stone piece to be shared. 

“To me I want to make sure that everything is correct,”

Gitner says that as a professor, he spends a week in one of his courses going over the basics of reporting. He spoke about being a member of Phi Kappa Psi and also being well-versed in the world of journalism in the wake of the Rolling Stone article.  

Hear Professor Seth Gitner recount what it felt like to learn about the article knowing he has worn the letters himself.