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In light of developments during the week of Oct. 2 regarding the fabrication of quotes, The Rotunda is issuing a retraction of an article published on Aug. 29.

As a news organization, we understand the world of journalism is fundamentally grounded on trust: trust between a reporter and a source, an editor and a reporter, the public and the news media. 

We want to clearly condemn the spread of falsehoods; the actions of a former reporter doesn't reflect the ethical code or values of The Rotunda as a whole.

To promote transparency surrounding how the break in trust occurred, we would like to share the timeline as the events unfolded.

In The Rotunda's Oct. 5 editor's meeting, the board learned a source came forward, stating she didn't recognize any of the quotes attributed to her in the Aug. 29 web article entitled, "With the upcoming involvement fair, students can find their place in one of over 175 orgs."

In response the information, The Rotunda sought to give all parties due process, recognizing the seriousness of the allegation. 

After The Rotunda met with both sides, the reporter and the alleged source, on Oct. 8 to get a balanced perspective, the editorial board planned to hold an emergency meeting to discuss a verdict and potential consequences at 7 p.m that day.

Prior to the emergency meeting, the reporter chose to step down from the position without pressure from the staff. The testimonies were still heard during the editor's meeting at 7 p.m., but rather than deciding on guilt, the editor's board requested an apology to the staff from the former reporter. 

Now, The Rotunda is apologizing to our community for our failure to educate and instill our standards in each of our reporters. We have made strides in recent years to better serve the Longwood and Farmville area with using new technologies, creating new events and growing our staff.

We understand one bad article among hundreds of other well-researched articles immediately hurts our credibility as a trusted institution in local life.

Our staff of volunteer reporters are prepared to work even harder to earn back the trust of the public.

In response to the fabrication, we're organizing an internal ethics presentation for all of our staff members to attend. Additionally, we're reemphasizing the need for articles to require at least two credible sources no matter the topic. The editorial process will involve more extensive fact-checking for content to work to prevent any future incidents.

We as a news organization are nothing without the cherished trust of our readers. Our ink has run blue and white since 1920, and we will work to insure each and every one of our reporters understands their job to seek truth and report it. 

The Rotunda has opted to keep the name of the former reporter anonymous because as a student-run collegiate news organization, we also stress the importance of personal development and would like to provide the former reporter a chance to learn from past mistakes without publicly marring the record for future career opportunities.

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