Friday, December 26, 2014

The worst journalism of 2014

CJR reporting:

This year has been one of many triumphs for journalists, who’ve told the stories of political struggle at home and violent struggle abroad, a public health crisis and airline tragedies that drew the eyes of the world, and self-examinations of American racial, domestic, and sexual norms. There have also been plenty of screw-ups, and CJR has kept track of them so you don’t have to. The additional DARTS awarded below aren’t necessarily the most impactful bloopers of the year, though several of them are among the most cringeworthy. Here’s one last salute to the year’s worst of the worst before their final burial at digital sea.
A complete unknown, like Rolling Stone
The disintegration of the magazine’s visceral campus rape story from Nov. 19 wins this year’s media-fail sweepstakes. University of Virginia student “Jackie”’s gang rape tale was heralded as the type of story only Rolling Stone was capable of telling, one that could change the national conversation around contemporary sexual culture. But within two weeks, it began to fall apart.
Reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely didn’t contact the alleged perpetrators of Jackie’s rape, not to mention three of her friends portrayed as unsympathetic to it. It turns out, as reported in a sterling clean-up job by The Washington Post, that Jackie’s account in the story doesn’t match her friends’ recollections of the incident. ...

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