Sabrina Rubin Erdely is the narrative journalist who wrote the Rolling Stone story about an alleged gang rape. Rolling Stone has since stepped away from that story, admitting to serious fact-checking flaws.
Since then, some interested observers have begun looking at a few of Erdely’s other samples of narrative journalism, both at Rolling Stone and beyond. For instance, a previous story about a rape included details about how the military responded. That response, as written, was logistically implausible, claims one observer. Another previous story was about a series of sexual assaults and how one Roman Catholic archdiocese responded. That story was already under scrutiny from some observers.
All of these stories — even the University of Virginia rape story — involve real people. The alleged problems relate to how well the sources’ stories were reported. In the case of the alleged gang rape, we’ve learned that the other alleged players in the story weren’t interviewed at all. That includes the alleged rape victim’s friends or supposed perpetrators.