Is it news? Ansari story triggers media ethics debate

Benedict said the story didn’t sufficiently press the woman on her motivations and took a flippant approach as to whether the incident constituted sexual assault. “I don’t feel that the reporters asked enough about what the goal was,” she said. “What does she want?”

Ryan Thomas, an assistant professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, said the piece lacked the rigor of other stories that used multiple sources to establish a clear pattern of abuse by prominent men like Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K.

“Most of the journalism has been very methodical in identifying a catalog of incidents to build a picture of a pattern of behavior,” Thomas said. By contrast, he said, the Babe.net story “focuses on a single case against a named individual by an anonymous individual,” thus raising questions about its newsworthiness and the care with which it was reported.