Wednesday, December 10, 2014
The public editor of The New York Times has wise advice for Rolling Stone magazine. Rolling Stone has had to retract a rape-on-campus story because of poor and incomplete reporting. It was a heavy blow to the publication's image. The Times' editor is telling Rolling Stone to reveal the entire shoddy episode and how it occurred in a public mea culpa. That is what the Times' did in the past as well as the Washington Post. In other words, Rolling Stone should investigate itself and learn from the incident what not to do in the future. It should rely on complete reporting and transparency with its readers and ask their forgiveness. And, as the editor writes, it should be wary of using anonymous sources in the future who can't be cross-checked for truthfulness. The Times' advice is what a PR practitioner would counsel the magazine to take. It is Journalistic Disaster Response 101, as the editor writes, but it is essential and the best way to regain public confidence. The question now is whether Rolling Stone is listening.