Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana is leaving the magazine after nearly two decades, The New York Times reported last night. His last day will be August 7 and no successor has been named.
“After 19 years at Rolling Stone, I have decided that it is time to move on,” he said in a statement. “It has been a great ride and I loved it even more than I imagined I would. I am as excited to see where the magazine goes next as I was in the summer of 1978 when I bought my first issue.”
Mr. Dana’s departure is the latest in the continuing fallout to the magazine’s now-discredited November story by journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely about a UVA freshman who said she was gang raped by members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. The story came under fire shortly after it was published for journalistic lapses.
As the story began to crumble, Mr. Dana issued an apology to readers and eventually retracted the story. In April, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism released an independent report that outlined the many missteps that led to the story’s publication.
When Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner was asked by The New York Times if Mr. Dana’s departure was “linked to the controversy over the discredited article,” he said that “many factors go into a decision like this.”
At least one of those factors would seems to be a lawsuit that was filed yesterday against Rolling Stone, Wenner Media, and Ms. Rubin Erdely by three former UVA students and fraternity members for defamation and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Mr. Wenner had been reluctant to fire any of the editors responsible for the story. As the Observer reported in December, deputy editor Sean Woods offered to resign when the story began to crumble but Mr. Wenner declined to accept the resignation.
“Jann at this point has fired more people than most owners will ever hire. Will has lasted longer than any editor in the history of Rolling Stone and Jann puts a lot of currency in the people who are there and doesn’t want to go through the hassle of finding great people,” a source told the Observer in December. “And he also believes that Will is the best editor in New York. And he might be right.”