In the last few weeks, we saw the Rolling Stone retract a highly read article about an alleged gang rape at the U of Virginia that raised a lot of questions about the ethics of journalism. In short, many of the accusations posed by the reporter were not backed up by facts and in the end cast a dark cloud over the university and the fraternities that were involved. Theconversation.com, an online news source written by academics and scholars, posted an article by Ivan Oransky, an associate professor at New York University, and Adam Marcus, that asks whether or not journalism should use the scientific method with its rigourous investigation, questioning of evidence, testing and revised hypotheses as a good model for self-correction. This article also takes a look at the scientific method itself and whether or not it, too, has some shortcomings and is vulnerable to human biases.
If you are a fan of truth in reporting and rigor in science, you will find this article thoughtful. Unlike a Rolling Stone: is science really better than journalism at self-correction?